Racer and television host Jessi Combs' fatal crash in a dry lake bed in Oregon's Alvord Desert is under investigation after there were reports of "fire" on the scene, authorities confirmed to the New York Post on Wednesday, Aug. 28. According to Lt. Brian Needham of the Harney County Sheriff's Office, authorities are attempting to retrieve laptops onboard the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger, the jet car which Combs had been driving, that may hold additional keys for investigators
"They're waiting for the team to recover the [engine and systems] information stored on the inboard computers," Needham said, adding that "there was a fire involved" in the Tuesday crash, though it remains unclear if Combs' vehicle hit something, which could have potentially sparked the blaze.
Combs, a South Dakota native, had been attempting to break her own land-speed record when her jet car crashed Tuesday afternoon. In 2013, she became the "fastest woman on four wheels" after piloting her jet-powered North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger to 398 miles per hour. In 2018, she piloted that same vehicle to 483.227 miles per hour and is said to have had her eyes set on one day reaching the overall women's land-speed record, which would have required her to break speeds of 512 mph.
Currently, an exact cause of the Tuesday crash is unclear, though it has been suggested that the vehicle had been traveling at an extremely high speed when it failed to stop, resulting in a car accident that was "equivalent to an airplane crash." The 36-year-old Combs was the sole fatality in the accident, as she was the only individual in the jet car when it crashed.
Prior to attempting the feat, Combs had taken to social media on Aug. 24 to acknowledge the risks involved in the sport.
It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire... those who are willing, are those who achieve great things. .— Jessi Combs (@TheJessiCombs) August 24, 2019
People say I’m crazy. I say thank you ;)
.#fastestwomanonearth #almost #fasterthanfast #jetcar #afterburner #landpsee… https://t.co/IrnCQQWMGJ pic.twitter.com/A5NZ6Luq0u
In a statement released after her death, Combs' family remembered her as "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."
"Surrounded by her family and friends at the time of her passing, Jessi lived fearlessly and her legacy lives on in the countless lives she touched," they added.
The automobile industry has also taken to social media to mourn her death, including her boyfriend Terry Madden, who shared a montage of photos of the two of them as well as video clips of them together, writing that he has "never loved or been loved by anyone as much as this amazing woman."
In addition to being an automotive world legend, Combs also appeared in a number of TV series, including Mythbusters, All Girls Garage, Xtreme 4x4, Overhaulin', Truck U, and Two Guys Garage.