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​​Influencer and Dog Driving Across U.S. Die in Car Crash Before Arriving at Final Destination

·3-min read


A Brazilian influencer and his golden retriever died in a car crash just days before completing their drive from Brazil to Alaska.

Jesse Kozechen, 29, died on Highway 199 just outside of Salem, Oregon, around 10:30 a.m. local time Monday. Kozechen, driving a Volkswagen Beetle, tried to pass a line of cars that had slowed down for a turning car ahead but instead swerved into oncoming traffic and hit another car, Oregon State Police said in a release shared with PEOPLE.

He was declared dead at the scene. His pup Shurastey also died, Oregon State Police confirms with PEOPLE.

The driver in the other vehicle, Eileen Huss, 62, suffered injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital via ambulance, per the release. A 2-year-old in that car — a Ford Escape — was not hurt, the outlet added, noting that the highway was shut down for more than two hours after the incident.

Oregon State Police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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Kozechen's family made a statement in a series of Instagram Stories on the pup's Instagram page @Shurastey_ on Wednesday, first noting that the only profiles where information can be found are Shurastey's, along with @shurastey.dogs and Kozechen's official Instagram @jessekoz.

In another Instagram Story, the family shared a message written in Portuguese. "We are no longer crowdfunding!" an English translation by Google Translate read, asking fans to report any other profiles.

The statement ended by noting that any details about funeral services for Kozechen and Shurastey, as well as transportation of their bodies to Brazil, will be provided on Shurastey's page.

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In his final Instagram post shared less than a week ago, Kozechen posted a snap of him and Shurastey standing near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Shurastey's last post, shared four days ago, shows the pup standing near the Beetle, which had been transformed into a tent. Kozechen sat just outside of the passenger in a lawn chair. He said in the caption, per Google Translate, that it was one of the final campsites in the United States before they headed to Canada and "finally" Alaska.

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"The camp from yesterday to today has already started to get cold and from now on it will get colder and colder but the good thing about the tent is that it withstands negative temperatures well and keeps the interior very warm and it also has a ventilation system that helps not condense so much hot air inside it!!!" the influencer wrote.

He added, "We are camping in the state of Oregon in the middle of nowhere and from here we continue our journey towards the border with Canada 🇨🇦👀 but first let's visit some guys that I'm a fan!!! Now let me prepare my breakfast, dismantle the tent so we can continue our journey!!!"

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