Jessi Combs died on Tuesday in a jet-car crash

By Eric Todisco
August 29, 2019 02:33 PM
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Jessi Combs‘ tragic death on Tuesday was not the first time the professional racer had risked her life for her career.

Combs, born Jessica (Jessi) Michelle Combs, died at age 36 after being involved in a crash in Oregon. And back in 2007, she nearly lost her life in a similar freak accident, which left her hospitalized and in therapy for eight months.

As described on Combs’ website, the accident occurred while she was in the studio for XTreme 4×4. The racer and eventual Mythbusters star was “folded in two” from a large piece of machinery that fell on of her and burst fractured her spine’s L3.

Combs did not end up permanently using a wheelchair but required surgery, bed rest and therapy for eight months before she was granted a full medical release.

After her recovery, Combs decided to leave the Spike TV series XTreme 4×4 in pursuit of other opportunities. After a year of multiple TV appearances, Combs joined the seventh season of Mythbusters.

“Appreciative of her health and her time with Xtreme 4×4, Jessi chose to move on with her career and in 2008 left the show in pursuit of other opportunities,” her website states.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty

The Harney County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to PEOPLE on Wednesday that the professional racer died on Tuesday at age 36.

Combs was identified and pronounced dead on the scene after police received a call around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, reporting that a jet car attempting to break a land speed record crashed in the Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon.

The cause of Combs’ crash is currently unknown.

Her Mythbusters family members have been sharing tributes to their late colleague.

“So sad to hear about Jessi. She was a badass. Always pushing limits. Sending smiles into the universe for her,” tweeted Mythbusters host Kari Byron, whom Combs filled in for while she was on maternity leave in season 7 of the show.

Adam Savage also shared his grief on Twitter, writing, “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.”

“My heart goes out to her family,” he added in another tweet.

“So sorry to hear about Jessi,” wrote former Mythbuster star Grant Imahara on Twitter. “She was a talented builder and host, and above all, a go-getter.”

Combs’ team member Terry Madden shared a heart-wrenching Instagram post confirming Combs’ death on Wednesday, saying that he was the first on the scene and that every measure was taken to attempt to save her life.

“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,” Madden wrote.

He added that Combs “dedicated her life to helping support others dreams and I promise I will continue that.”

Along with her many TV appearances, Combs, known as the “fastest woman on four wheels,” held the women’s 4-wheel land speed record with a top speed of 440.709 miles per hour, which she claimed in 2013. She broke that record in 2016 with a new top speed of 477.59 miles per hour.