SANTEE, Calif. — Two years ago, a plane crashed in a Santee neighborhood, killing two people and destroying and damaging homes in its path of destruction.
“I’m glad we are home, I really am, I’m glad we are home,” said Jill Perry, who works for Home of Guiding Hands, group homes for mentally disabled adults. The crash damaged the Santee group home’s roof and fencing. It forced the residents out of the house for six months.
Perry recalled the moment the crash interrupted their lunch.
“All of a sudden the earth shook, windows shook, hearing this popping noise,” Perry said. “Looking outside we just see flames going across the driveway.”
Among those who died was the pilot, Dr. Sugata Das, a cardiologist out of Yuma, Arizona and a UPS driver, 61-year-old Steve Krueger.
“The UPS driver was amazing,” Perry said to FOX 5. “He was nice, very nice, always smiling.”
“It’s just great to know everyone appreciated him and saw him for what he was which was generally just a really good guy,” said Jeff Krueger, Steve’s brother.
Jeff said Steve would want people to celebrate his life.
“Steve is the kind of guy that wouldn’t want people sad or upset about it,” Jeff said.
Jeff said Steve would want everyone to joke around, speak positively of him, and remember everything about him — like how he was the fun uncle who waterskied barefoot, and sometimes in a UPS uniform holding a package.
A photo of Steve doing just that is something UPS posted on a stop sign near where he died. It’s posted high above two yellow roses in Steve’s honor.
“I wasn’t aware of that, and I appreciate you telling me that because that just tells people the kind of guy he was, that people still remember him and still miss him,” Jeff said. “It’s tough but it’s nice knowing that people still remember him, makes it easier to deal with losing him this way.”
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Krueger said NTSB told him that they have not finalized their report but should hear more in a couple of months.