Late Mythbusters Star Jessi Combs' Fatal Jet Car Crash Caused by Mechanical Failure
According to a report obtained by PEOPLE, investigators found that there was a mechanical failure of the front wheel of Combs’ vehicle, likely caused as a result of striking an object on the desert.
The front wheel’s failure led to the front wheel assembly collapsing at speeds approaching 550 miles per hour, according to the report.
The cause of Combs’ death was ultimately found by investigators to be blunt force trauma to the head occurring prior to the fire that engulfed the vehicle after it crashed.
Combs died on Aug. 27 while pursuing a land speed record in Oregon. She was 36.
Her death was confirmed to PEOPLE at the time by the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, which responded to the scene of the jet car crash in the Alvord Desert. Combs was pronounced dead at the scene.
Terry Madden, Combs’ boyfriend, confirmed her death on Instagram, sharing a montage of videos with the race car driver, who was known as “the fastest woman on four wheels.”
In September, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles debuted a special temporary exhibit dedicated to Combs curated with the help of her family and friends. “Jessi Combs: Life at Full Speed” honored her life and accomplishments, highlighting her career as a fabricator, race car driver and TV presenter.
Exhibit proceeds benefited The Jessi Combs Foundation, a new organization dedicated to educating, inspiring and empowering the next generation of female trailblazers and stereotype-breakers.
“Jessi was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know,” Madden said in a statement. “Her appetite for living life on the edge and pursuing her dreams to the fullest is an inspiration to me and all who knew her. The Jessi Combs Foundation will motivate young women who looked up to Jessi, empowering them to uncover their inner confidence and abilities so they, too, can achieve their dreams.”
Prior to Mythbusters, Combs was a co-host on the Spike TV series XTreme 4×4 for five years. She replaced Kari Byron, who was on maternity leave, for the seventh season of Mythbusters in 2009, appearing in 12 episodes total.