Jet Car Crash That Killed Jessi Combs Under Investigation

August 29, 2019 Updated: August 29, 2019

An investigation has been launched into the jet car crash that killed Jessi Combs, one of the most famous women racers in the world.

Combs, 39, died in the Alvord Desert in Oregon while trying to break a land speed record. She was once clocked at 483 miles per hour; the record is 512.7 mph.

Combs, who was driving a refashioned jet, indicated in an Instagram post made days before she died that she wanted to do 619 mph.

Lieutenant Brian Needham of the Harney County Sheriff’s Office said that the office is investigating what happened.

Dispatchers received a report on Aug. 27 that a jet car crashed while attempting to break a land speed record in the desert, leading to one death, he said in a statement.

The crash also caused a jet fuel fire. Because of the remote area, no pictures or footage have emerged showing the scene before, during, or after the crash.

Deputies with the office responded to the area, which is located about 90 miles south of Burn.

Combs, from Long Beach, California, was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The cause of the crash is unknown at this time and is currently being investigated,” Needham said.

According to the office, the group was legally racing the jet car after having obtained the appropriate permits from the Bureau of Land Management. The bureau confirmed to The Epoch Times that the group had the proper permits. A spokeswoman said that the agency is not involved in the investigation.

The desert is often used for racing and was the site of Kitty Smith’s race that set the record in 1976. She was driving a three-wheel machine.

Combs had the record for a woman racing a four-wheel vehicle but wanted to top Smith’s record.

According to her racing team, Combs hit 483 mph on Sept. 12, 2018, but was forced to stop.

“Unfortunately a hydraulic bay door lock mechanism broke allowing the door to open. It was instantly torn away from the vehicle with parts entering the left hand engine inlet, causing the test session to come to an end,” the team said.

Combs said at the time that she went “slightly faster” but “unfortunately a piece of debris was sucked into the turbine intake.”

“There is minimal damage, though game over for now. Quite a bummer, but happy with the new achievements 🙂 Looking forward to the next attempt of ludicrous speed,” she added.

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A post shared by Jessi Combs (@thejessicombs) on

Investigators Work to Recover Computers

Needham, the police official, said that investigators were trying to obtain the laptop computers that were on board the jet car.

“They’re waiting for the team to recover the [engine and systems] information stored on the inboard computers,” he told the New York Post.

Needham said the cause of the fire wasn’t clear yet, whether it was Combs running into something, or the vehicle catching on fire.

The vehicle she was driving, the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger, was a 56-foot-long reconfigured F-104 jet that had 52,000 horsepower.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber