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Brazilian influencer’s dream drive in 1978 Beetle to Alaska cut short in deadly car crash in Oregon

A 29-year old influencer, who was living the dream of traveling from Brazil to Alaska through the Americas, died two days after reaching his destination.  

Jesse Koz has traveled 52,000 miles and 17 countries in his 1978 Volkswagen Beetle with his pet Golden Retriever Shurastey since he began his trip in 2017.

But on Monday, Koz and his pet were killed in a head-on crash with a Ford Escape on US Highway 199 near Selma, Oregon. Koz and his dog were both declared dead at the scene.

The driver of the Ford Escape, Eileen Huss, 62, was taken to a hospital for treatment to her injuries. The child, aged two years old, who was riding in the vehicle with Eileen Huss was not hurt.

Brazilian influencer Jesse Koz and his Golden Retriever Shurastey had been joined at the hip for six years before they were both killed in a crash this week

Brazilian influencer Jesse Koz and his pet Golden Retriever Shurastey were killed Monday in Oregon when he collided with a vehicle head-on. Koz was just two days away from reaching his dream destination of Alaska, a trip that had been cut short in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic

Brazilian influencer Jesse Koz and his pet Golden Retriever Shurastey were killed Monday in Oregon when he collided with a vehicle head-on. Koz was just days away from reaching Alaska, his dream destination. But, that trip was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Jesse Koz, a 29-year-old influencer from Brazil, and his pet dog had visited 17 countries since 2017

Jesse Koz, a Brazilian influencer aged 29, and his pet dog have visited 17 countries since 2017. 

On Saturday, Koz shared a photo of his camp site in Oregon as he and his pet Golden Retriever were getting ready to get back on the road and drive to Alaska

Koz shared a photo from his Oregon camp site on Saturday as he and his Golden Retriever got ready to hit the road to drive to Alaska.

Jesse Koz returned to Queretaro, Mexico, to pick up his 1978 Volkswagen Beetle in January and restart his journey to Alaska

Jesse Koz traveled to Queretaro, Mexico to pick up his 1978 Volkswagen Beetle, and to begin his journey to Alaska.

Koz has been driving since 2017, but his journey to Alaska was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It prevented him from driving across Mexico-United States borders and forced him to return home to Brazil.

He launched the journey with the name ‘Shurastey’ or Shuaigow, a playful combination between his dog’s name and The Clash’s smash hit song “Should I Stay or Should My Go.” 

He returned to Mexico in January and resumed his eagerly awaited journey. There he met up with Volkswagen Beetle, whom he affectionately called ‘Dodongo’.

‘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,’ Koz explained. “But the months passed, and there was no news that this would occur, and month after month (of), expectation was decreasing, and the dream of completing (the drive with the Beetle) was (slipping away).

Koz crossed from the northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo León to Texas on February 9 and later visited the NASA Space Center in Houston before heading for Louisiana. 

Koz decided to name his journey to Alaska, 'Shurastey or Shuaigow', a playful combination of his dog's name, with The Clash's hit song, Should I Stay or Should I Go

Koz decided to name his journey to Alaska, ‘Shurastey or Shuaigow’, a playful combination of his dog’s name, with The Clash’s hit song, Should I Stay or Should I Go

Brazilian Jesse Koz, known for traveling the world with his old Beetle, died in a traffic accident in the state of Oregon. He and his pet are pictured above during a stop in Arizona in late  April

Brazilian Jesse Koz was a well-known traveler and his Beetle was his best friend. He was killed in an Oregon traffic accident. He and his pet are pictured above during a stop in Arizona in late  April

With the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance in San Francisco, Jesse Koz expressed the 'freedom' he felt of traveling the world. 'There is no happiness without freedom, and I always paid a lot to be free in this project,' he wrote. 'I came out of a prison that was my old life where others made the decisions for me so I could have the freedom to choose what I wanted!'

Jesse Koz was expressing the freedom he felt traveling the globe, with the Golden Gate Bridge visible in the distance. He wrote, “There is no happiness without freedom and I always paid a lot for the opportunity to be free in my project.” “I came out of a prison where others made the decisions for my old life so that I could choose what I wanted!”

Jesse Koz's 1978 Volkswagen Beetle was wrecked following the head-on collision with the Ford Escape

Jesse Koz’s 1978 Volkswagen Beetle was damaged in a head-on collision with Ford Escape.

Shurastey, his best friend for six years, paused and watched the sunset on February 10, reminiscing about the times they shared and the future ahead. 

“I told him how important I was to him, and that without his company, I wouldn’t be able to make it this far.” He smiled, his tongue out, and said that he didn’t see my face. “I just wanted a sunset with my friend. I know we have many more to go and as long as it is up to me, we will always be there until the sun sets.”

The road trip took them through Mississippi before they made it to Florida, where he met his childhood idol, Brazilian Formula 1 driver Rubens  Barrichello.

Koz took a trip up the East Coast in April. He stopped at Washington to take a photo in front the Capitol. He also drove through Times Square in New York City. He drove north to Niagara Falls where he was’surprised and surprised by a storm’.

Jesse Koz and his Golden Retriever take a break from their journey through Florida in March

Jesse Koz takes a break from his March journey through Florida with his Golden Retriever

Koz, Shurastey, and Dodongo then set out west, traversing Illinois, Missourui Kansas and Arizona. They camped near the Grand Canyon before continuing to California.

Koz expressed his ‘freedom’ to travel the world with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. 

He wrote that freedom is the only way to happiness, and that he had paid a lot to have his freedom in this project. “I came out of a prison where others made the decisions for my old life so that I could choose what I wanted!”

Koz shared a photo on Saturday of his old reliable Beetle, parked in Grants Pass with his sleeping bag atop it. He also described the frigid conditions Shurastey faced as they prepared for their return to the road and headed towards Alaska.

He wrote in Portuguese, “Hey my friends, it’s now to enter Canada and finally go to Alaska,”

“It has already begun to get cold at camp from yesterday to this day and it will continue to get colder from now on. The good news about the tent is that it can withstand adverse temperatures and keeps the interior very heated. There is also a ventilation system to help (keep out the heat).

Brazilian influencer Jesse Koz and his dog pose for picture in Arizona as they returned to the West Coast to continue their trip to Alaska

Brazilian influencer Jesse Koz poses with his dog in Arizona, as they return to the West Coast to continue their journey to Alaska.

One of Kuz's first stops after crossing from Mexico to the United States was the NASA Space Center in Houston

Kuz visited the NASA Space Center Houston in his first stop on the journey from Mexico to the United States.

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