Jessi Combs, the former MythBusters star and racing enthusiast who died this summer trying to set a world record, died of blunt force trauma when the entire front assembly of her vehicle collapsed, likely due to a mechanical failure of the front wheel, Yahoo Celebrity reports.
As reported at the time by The Inquisitr, Combs died on August 27, 2019, while trying to set a women’s land speed class record. Specifically, she was at a dry lake bed in Harney County, Oregon, trying to earn the achievement at the desert location popular with speedsters. Her attempt failed when her car disintegrated at high speed and was later engulfed in flames, killing her in the process. She was 39.
At the time, officials planned an investigation into what caused her death, and this week, the results of that investigation were made public.
Lieutenant Brian Needham, of the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, laid out the likely cause of death in a statement. Based on forensic evidence and evidence provided by Combs’ team, North American Race Team, Needham stated that it’s likely at some point during her attempt, Combs’ vehicle struck an object on the ground. That collusion caused the wheel to fail, leading to a chain reaction that led to Combs’ fatal crash.
“The front wheel failure led to the front wheel assembly collapsing. The front wheel failure occurred at speeds approaching 550 miles per hour,” Needham said.
Though her car was engulfed in flames following the accident, it’s believed that Combs had died before that happened. She is believed to have died of blunt force trauma, likely instantly, before flames consumed her vehicle.
Combs died doing what she loved: racing and setting records. Dubbed “the fastest woman on four wheels,” Combs had set a women’s land speed record in 2013, and then had broken her own record in 2016. When she died, she was attempting to break one of her own records.
In addition to racing, Combs was known for her TV appearances, most notably a few odd appearances on MythBusters, as well as 12 sequential episodes of the show in 2009 as Kari Byron’s temporary replacement while Byron was on maternity leave.
Combs’ boyfriend at the time of her death, Terry Madden, continues to honor her in his social media posts. As recently as last week, Madden had posted a tribute to Combs, sharing a picture of the two of them attending an event together.
View this post on Instagram
#rememberthetime These popped up last night in the automatic “one year ago today” on my phone. . We had a blast last year at the OffRoad Hall of Fame Banquet @ormhof. The one great night that I don’t have many pictures of….. most of them were on her phone. . The Banquet is this weekend and I have our tickets but struggling with going.. the first time events with out her, that we always went to together are tough. Having that empty seat makes it seem real…. . . #rockingchairstories #memories #lookingforward #offroadfamily #jessi #missyababe @thejessicombs #sema #offroad #halloffame
Combs’ family has not responded to requests for comment, as of this writing.