Jessi Combs’ Final Ride Was Not in Vain
Race car driver Jessi Combs died in a violent crash one year ago Thursday, on Aug. 27, 2019. The 39-year-old was trying to break the land speed record for a female driver, and until recently, the results were not confirmed.
Per the BBC, stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil set the record with a jet-powered three-wheeler in 1976, in the same Alvord Desert (in Oregon) where Combs died racing. The record stood at 512.7MPH for more than 40 years, but the Guinness Book of World Records has since confirmed that Combs' final ride broke the mark by a full 10MPH.
The new fastest land speed record for a female is 522.783 MPH. The news was first published by several automobile publications and websites, including Autoblog, in June.
Combs crashed on the second of two runs at the record, which is necessary to complete a two-way run and be eligible for Guinness. A police investigation showed that the accident was caused by "a mechanical failure of the front wheel," most likely caused from striking an object in the desert. Harney County Sheriff's Office (Oregon) said the crash happened while Combs was traveling at 550MPH.
Beyond being a racer, Combs appeared on numerous television shows, including Spike TV's Xtreme 4X4 as well as Overhaulin' and Mythbusters. Her boyfriend Terry Madden took to social media soon after her death to mourn and share some of his final moments with her. He continues to tribute the late racer on Instagram, with lengthy personal memories and photographs of them together, or her smiling at the camera.
Upon learning the record has been officially recorded, he again took to Instagram to explain his conflicted emotions and to share more details about the accident and their final conversations.
"That was to be the last time she ever got in that car," Madden writes, admitting she had some safety concerns. "It has torn me apart that all I had to do is say, 'Let’s go' and we would have left before that run, she asked my opinion and I told her to go for it if it was what she wanted. That conversation has torn me apart everyday since the accident."
See Country Stars Who Died in Plane Crashes: