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Family, colleagues and Santee community remember Ocean Beach UPS driver killed in plane crash

Flags are placed near photos of Dr. Sugata Das and UPS driver Steve Krueger in Santee on Oct. 14.
Flags are placed near photos of Dr. Sugata Das and UPS driver Steve Krueger at Green Castle and Jeremy streets in Santee on Oct. 14.
(John Gastaldo)

A candlelight vigil is held for Steve Krueger, who was killed Oct. 11 when a twin-engine Cessna crashed, hitting his UPS truck and also killing the pilot, Dr. Sugata Das.

Family members, colleagues and neighbors held a candlelight vigil Oct. 14 for Steve Krueger, the Ocean Beach man who was killed this week when a crashing plane slammed into his UPS delivery truck in Santee.

“Most of us go to work because we have to. Steve came to work because he wanted to,” Robert Moreno, a fellow UPS driver, told the crowd of several hundred who gathered near the site of the Oct. 11 crash near Jeremy and Greencastle streets.

“He could have retired, but he loved his [delivery] neighborhood, he loved his customers, he loved his job,” Moreno said.

Krueger, 61, worked for UPS for about 30 years, and those close to him said it was more than a job to him. Photographs show him barefoot skiing and snow skiing — two of his favorite hobbies — in his brown UPS uniform, with faux parcels under his arm.

A toy UPS truck and a baseball hat are placed at a streetside memorial in Santee for Steve Krueger of Ocean Beach.
(John Gastaldo)

UPS employees across the United States held a moment of silence at 12:14 p.m. Oct. 12, exactly 24 hours after the crash. Moreno thanked the “UPSers and every Teamster nationwide” for the love and support.

Jeffrey Krueger remembered his brother being “showered with treats” during the holidays from those on his route — one of the perks of the job for a man with “a massive sweet tooth.”

“You people have really made this easier for me and my family to deal with,” he said of the large group gathered at the Oct. 14 vigil, many of whom knew his brother from work or lived on his regular route.

Cody Campbell and his wife, Courtney, lost their home in the fire caused by the Oct. 11 plane crash in Santee.
Cody Campbell and his wife, Courtney, attend the candlelight vigil Oct. 14 in Santee. The Campbells lost their home in the fire caused by the Oct. 11 plane crash.
(John Gastaldo)

Federal investigators continue to probe what caused Dr. Sugata Das’ plane to crash in the residential neighborhood east of Santana High School. After hitting Krueger’s truck, the twin-engine Cessna C340 crashed into two homes, burning and destroying them. Das was killed.

Neighbors rescued a couple in their 70s from one home. A newlywed couple who lived in the other were not home at the time.


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