Jessi Combs died Tuesday in a jet-car crash


When Jessi Combs tragically died this week, the professional racer and Mythbusters star was doing what she loved most.

On Tuesday, Aug. 27, Combs, born Jessica (Jessi) Michelle Combs, died at age 36 after being involved in a crash in Oregon. But just days before her death, Combs wasn’t letting the criticism of others hold her back from achieving her dreams.

In an Instagram post shared over the weekend, Combs thanked those who called her “crazy” and explained her choice to “walk directly into the line of fire.”

“It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire… those who are willing, are those who achieve great things,” she captioned a photo of herself walking towards a jet car. “People say I’m crazy. I say thank you ;).”

She added the hashtags: “#fastestwomanonearth #almost #fasterthanfast #jetcar #afterburner #landpseed @landspeed763 #iwillgofaster #gottabreak512 #aimingfor619 #currentlyat483 #northamericaneagle #i❤️afterburners.”

Combs claimed the women’s 4-wheel land speed record in 2013, with a top speed of 440.709 mph. In 2016, she set a new top speed record of 477.59 mph.

On Wednesday, the Harney County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to PEOPLE that it 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. Deputies arrived on the scene and identified the driver and sole fatality in the vehicle as Combs, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of the crash is still unknown.

Jessi Combs
Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Terry Madden, a member of Combs’ team, confirmed her death in an Instagram post on Wednesday, sharing a montage video of he and Combs, who was known as “the fastest woman on four wheels.”

“So I don’t know how to say any of this but it all needs said,” he began. “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,” he continued. “Unfortunately we lost her yesterday in a horrific accident.”

Madden revealed that he was the “first one” on the scene where Combs died, and noted that they “did everything humanly possible to save her.”

He continued, “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 [none] 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 [sic], 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,” he wrote.

Madden concluded his post by promising his followers that they could donate to Combs’ foundation once he and her family “put the proper channels together.”

“Love you all and thank you all for being such amazing friends to her,” he wrote. “She dedicated her life to helping support others dreams and I promise I will continue that.”

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.