A lifelong-dream road trip from Brazil to the US was fatally cut short after a social media influencer and his beloved dog died in a car crash.
Jesse Koz, 29, and his golden retriever Shurastey embarked on the journey in 2017 in his iconic 1978 Volkswagen Beetle, and had already travelled 52,000 miles and been to 17 countries.
But after a head-on crash with a Ford Escape near Selma, in Oregon, the two were pronounced dead at the scene.
Eileen Huss, 62, who was driving the Ford, survived the collision on Monday and was taken to a hospital with injuries.
A two-year-old child who was in her vehicle was uninjured.
At the time, Jesse was just two days away from crossing Canada and reaching Alaska – his final destination.
The last picture posted on his Instagram account shows the Brazilian national and his pet staring at the gleaming Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
‘He died as a hero, living his biggest dream, the world of travellers lost a great inspiration,’ one of his 520,000 followers commented underneath.
Jesse had spent the past three months driving across the US, sharing photographs of New York’s skyscrapers, Washington’s Capitol and Florida’s Santa Rosa Beach.
His trip was slowed down in 2020 due to Covid-19 border restrictions, and he was forced to return to Brazil.
But determined to complete the drive, the wanderer resumed his travels in January this year with his best pal Shurastey alongside him.
‘We left Mexico in September 2020 with the idea of staying only four months in Brazil with the hope that the Mexico-US border would open again,’ he was quoted as saying by the .
‘But the months went by, and no news that this would happen, month after month after month of expectation was decreasing and the dream of completing the drive with the Beetle was [slipping away].’
Jesse crossed from the northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo León to Texas on February 9.
Two days later, he shared a photo of him and Shurastey watching the sunset sat on top of the Volkswagen Beetle.
A caption under said: ‘Yesterday I sat with Shurastey to enjoy the sunset.
‘We stayed there talking about everything we’ve been through in the last few years, we talked about the perrengues, about friends, and about all the amazing places we’ve visited!
‘I told him how important he was to me, and that I wouldn’t have made it this far without his company.
‘He just smiled with his tongue out and breathed on my face. It’s been six years living practically every day together, more or less half the life of a large dog.
‘Yesterday I just wanted to enjoy a sunset in the company of my friend, I know we still have many more ahead and as far as it depends on me we will always be together until the sun sets one last time.’
Jesse’s family are now in the process of extraditing his body back to Brazil.
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