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Mythbusters’ Jessi Combs dies in jet-powered car crash during record attempt

Jessi Combs
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Racer and former Mythbusters star Jessi Combs, who was known as “the fastest woman on four wheels,” died in a car crash on Tuesday. 

Combs was in a jet-powered car in Oregon trying to break her 2018 land-speed record of 483 mph in the Alvord Desert when she died. She was 36 years old. 

The first record Combs broke was in 2013, when she reached 393 mph in a North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger. In 2016, she set another record when she reached 478 mph. She was working towards breaking the land-speed record of 512 mph to become the fastest female driver on Earth. 

KTZ News in Oregon first reported the crash, saying that the Harney County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Terry Madden, who was apart of Combs’ crew, confirmed her death in a heartfelt Instagram post. 

View this post on Instagram

So I don’t know how to say any of this but it all needs said. I have never loved or been loved by anyone as much as this amazing woman @thejessicombs she was truly my unicorn and I enjoyed every single minute that I had with her. She was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know. Unfortunately we lost her yesterday in a horrific accident, I was the first one there and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her!! I’m not ok, but she is right here keeping my going-I made her a promise that if this didn’t go well that I would make sure and do good with it, please help me with that, you are all going to see things on news please believe non of them.. we the family have drafted a release and it will come out today with more proper info, but I was just woke up by the media tracking me down and I need everyone of her true friends to do what she would want “take a deep breath, relax” and do good things with this. Please donate to nothing, I know there will be people try, we are finishing the documentary as she wished and the world will know the truth and her foundation will use those funds to do amazing things in this world and make her legacy live on properly. In the coming days her family and I will get the proper channels put together that you can then donate to that foundation but until you hear it from me wait please-I don’t want some asshole profiting off this (all ready had one try to sell us a video)… . . Love you all and thank you all for being such amazing friends to her, she dedicated her life to helping support others dreams and I promise I will continue that.

A post shared by Terry L. Madden (@terry_madden) on

“I was the first one there and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her!! I’m not ok, but she is right here keeping my going-I made her a promise that if this didn’t go well that I would make sure and do good with it,” he wrote. 

Madden added that the crew would finish a documentary they were working on and that the family will start a foundation in her honor to “make her legacy live on properly.”

Aside from her dream to become the fastest woman on Earth, Combs was also the host of the popular show Mythbusters from 2009-2010. She also appeared in the TV documentary series Overhaulin and in Jay Leno’s Garage.

Former Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage called Combs “brilliant” in an emotional tweet.

I’m so so sad, Jessi Combs has been killed in a crash. She was a brilliant & too-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, & strove everyday to encourage others by her prodigious example. She was also a colleague, and we are lesser for her absence.

— Adam Savage (@donttrythis) August 28, 2019

Mythbusters host Kari Byron also mourned Combs on Twitter, calling her a “badass” who always pushed limits.

So sad to hear about Jessi. She was a badass. Always pushing limits. Sending smiles into the universe for her. @mythbusters

— Kari Byron (@KariByron) August 28, 2019

She also wrote children’s book called “Joey and the Chopper Boys,” and was a metal fabricator who built cars at the SEMA show. 

“Combs was one of the rare dreamers with the bravery to turn those possibilities into reality, and she left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history,” her family said in a statement to Autoblog. 

The family’s statement said that the foundation that will be created in Combs’ name would “continue her efforts to empower women and young girls to follow their dreams.”

One of Combs’ last posts on social media read, “It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire…those who are willing, are those who achieve great things.” 

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