Influencer Quit His Job To Travel With His Dog, Both Killed In Tragic Accident

Not all dreams have a happy ending, and neither do all inspirational stories. Jesse Koz’s story doesn’t, because he passed away before completing what he described as the dream roadtrip, from Brazil to Alaska, through the United States.

Jesse Koz is a Brazilian influencer who started out on his dream roadtrip way back in 2017, at the wheel of a rusty but dependable 1978 Volkswagen Beetle. Koz’s only passenger was also his best friend and permanent photo companion, a Golden Retriever named Shurastey. Both were killed on May 24, on US Highway 199 near Selma, Oregon, local media reports.

The Beetle, which was named Dodongo and was heavily featured in daily posts from the trip, crashed into an oncoming Ford Escape. Koz changed lanes to avoid a traffic jam, lost control of the car and collided with the Ford coming from the opposite direction. Both he and the dog were killed on the spot, but the driver and the passenger in the other car survived, and were taken to the hospital for their injuries.

One photo from the scene shows the Beetle completely destroyed, while the Ford had damage mostly to the front end. While mourning the adventurer, some of his thousands of fans and followers are pointing out the fact that, while a cool car for its retro vibes, Dodongo ultimately failed Koz: it was a ‘78 rusty car, and it acted like one in a frontal collision.

When he set out for the trip, which would see him and Shurastey drive all the way from Balneário Camboriú in Santa Catarina, Brazil, to Alaska, Koz never imagined the journey would be this long. The health crisis of 2020 caught the duo in Mexico and, with the border to the U.S. closed, they had no choice but to go back to the starting point, leaving the car there.

They returned for the Beetle in early 2022, when the big cross-American trip kicked off. Koz and Shurastey stopped by all the usual landmarks and duly documented their stays and some of the adventures on the road on social media, which earned them quite an impressive following. When the fatal accident occurred, they had embarked on the final leg of the tour, which would have seen them cross into Canada and head to their destination, Alaska.

In February this year, in a post with a photo of himself by the San Francisco bridge, Koz spoke about finding freedom on the road and breaking free from his old life, to pursue a dream. With Dodongo, Koz and Shurastey traveled over 52,000 miles (83,685 km), visiting 17 countries.


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