Thousands of people are mourning the loss of 29-year-old Jesse Koz and his golden retriever, Shurastey, after they were both killed in a car collision this month.
The duo was on a multi-country road trip from Brazil to Alaska. Jesse had been documenting his journey on Instagram, where he’d gathered quite a following of nearly 500,000 people before the crash.
Shurastey also had an Instagram, which had an even more impressive 1.4 million followers!
According to the Daily Mail, Jesse and Shurastey made it to 17 countries since 2017.
However, the COVID-19 lockdown ended up putting a pause on Jesse’s big trip to Alaska. Jesse found himself unable to cross the Mexico-United States border, so he had to stop his trip until the border re-opened the following year.
Loaded in his 1978 Volkswagen Beetle, Jesse and Shurastey eventually traveled to Florida and continued on through more of the east coast before heading to Illinois, Kansas, and Arizona. It wasn’t long before they crossed from Arizona through California and up into Oregon – but they didn’t make it far before tragedy struck.
Less than 2 hours North of the California-Oregon border, Jesse swerved into oncoming traffic on Highway 199 near Selma, Oregon. He crashed into a Ford Escape and was fatally injured in the incident. According to Herald and News, local police reported a dog also died in the incident. The passengers in the Ford Escape were treated for minor injuries and are expected to make a full recovery.
Before the heartbreaking car collision, Jesse posted a sweet tribute on Instagram to his best friend, Shurastey.
He wrote, “…the most amazing thing is being able to admire this wonder of nature with my best friend who has been with me on this journey for more than 5 years in the Americas! If it wasn’t for your company, everything would be a little gray and dull.”
Rest in peace, Jesse and Shurastey.