Pro Driver, TV Host Dies in Alvord Desert Land Speed Attempt

Professional driver and popular TV host Jessica “Jessi” Combs died in a jet car while attempting to break a land speed record at the Alvord Desert, officials said.

Combs, 36, who held the title of “fastest woman on 4-wheels,” was attempting to break her own record she set in 2013 with a top speed of 440 mph, according to her team’s website.

Deputies from the Harney County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call following the crash.

Combs was identified as the driver of the vehicle and was pronounced dead on scene, officials said in a press release.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Terry Madden, Combs’ teammate on the North American Eagle racing team, said in an Instagram post Wednesday that he was heartbroken and added a video collage of photos and video clips of Combs with various team members.

“She was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know,” Madden wrote. “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!!”

Combs was widely known in the niche sport of jet-car racing and was attempting to break the Women’s Land Speed Record of 512 mph (823 kph) set in 1976 by Kitty O’Neil when she died. Jet cars are race cars propelled by jet engines.

She currently held the record as the fastest woman on four wheels — O’Neil piloted a three-wheeled vehicle — for a 398 mph performance in 2013 and had driven even faster in follow-up runs, but mechanical problems prevented those from making the record books.

In a statement, Combs’ family said her “most notable dream was being the fastest woman on Earth.”

 

Photo courtesy Jessi Combs’ Facebook page
ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report

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