Jessi Combs death investigation: Cause of 550-mph crash in Alvord Desert determined

BURNS, Ore. -- Investigators have revealed what they believe to be the cause of the high-speed crash that killed television personality and professional driver Jessi Combs in late August.

A mechanical failure is said to be the cause of the crash that killed the 39-year-old land speed racer. Combs was attempting to break a land speed record in a jet car in the Alvord Desert about 90 miles south of Burns, Oregon, on Aug. 27.

Officials say the front wheel of her vehicle suffered a mechanical problem, likely from hitting something on the ground, and that caused the front wheel assembly to collapse.

The crash happened at speeds near 550 mph.

Combs, a Long Beach resident, was widely known in the niche sport of jet car racing and was trying to break the Women's Land Speed Record of 512 mph set in 1976 by Kitty O'Neil when she died. Combs wrote on Instagram two days before the crash, "People say I'm crazy. I say thank you."

Combs was also known for appearances on Discovery's "Mythbusters" and "Break Room" as well as "Overhaulin'" and "All Girls Garage" on Velocity.

Officials say she died from injuries before her vehicle became engulfed in fire.
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