Speed Reads

accidents

Mythbusters' Jessi Combs dies while trying to break land speed record

Jessi Combs, the professional racer and former host of Mythbusters known as "the fastest woman on four wheels", died Tuesday in a jet car crash in Oregon. She was 39.

The accident occurred on a dry lake bed in the Alvord Desert, as Combs tried to break a land speed record. "Jessi's bright smile, positivity, and tenacious pursuit of her dreams inspired everyone who met her," her family said in a statement. "Her drive and spirit were infectious, and she served as a role model for young girls and women around the world." Former Mythbusters host Adam Savage tweeted that Combs was a "brilliant and top-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, and strove every day to encourage others by her prodigious example."

Combs was driving the North American Eagle, a vehicle made from the fuselage of a jet plane, when she crashed, NBC News reports. She was attempting to beat the Women's Land Speed Record, set by Kitty O'Neil in 1976. While driving the vehicle on the lake bed in September, a door ripped off, and Combs was forced to end that bid to break the record. Tuesday's accident is under investigation.