Race car driver Jessi Combs dies in high-speed crash
LOS ANGELES, USA – Racing driver Jessi Combs, considered the "fastest woman on 4 wheels," was killed in a car accident trying to break her own record, police said Wednesday, August 28.
Combs' jet car crashed Tuesday in the Alvord Desert where she was pronounced dead at the scene, officers in the northwestern US state of Oregon said in a statement.
Combs, 39, earned her "fastest woman" title in 2013 when she hit 398 miles (641 kilometers) per hour, and police said the fatal crash occurred while "attempting to break" the record.
"Jessi Combs was pronounced deceased at the scene," the Harney County Sheriff's Office statement said. "The cause of the crash is unknown at this time and is currently being investigated."
Combs, who also appeared on various US television shows, previously tried to break her record in October.
According to industry media, she was able to exceed her previous speed to reach 483 miles per hour, but a mechanical problem meant the record couldn't be officially validated.
She had expected to do even better on Tuesday.
Combs, an accomplished mechanic, had challenged herself to beat American stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil's 1976 "fastest woman in the world" record, which was set on a three-wheel vehicle also in the Alvord Desert, at 512 miles per hour.
"Jessi's most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth, a dream she had been chasing since 2012... 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.
Combs appeared in several television shows, including the Mythbusters, Overhaulin', and All Girls Garage.
"The Discovery and MotorTrend family is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Jessi Combs," Discovery Channel said in a statement. "She was a friend and colleague, an icon in the industry, and an undeniable force of nature who left an indelible mark on the car world. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones." – Rappler.com