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UPS driver killed in Santee plane crash identified

Victim's brother: Remember the good things about him
steve krueger ups driver santee plane crash.jpg
Posted at 12:43 PM, Oct 12, 2021

SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) — The brother of the UPS driver killed in Monday's plane crash in a Santee neighborhood said his brother loved interacting with people and his route in the community.

Jeff Krueger, the brother of 61-year-old Steve Krueger, said his brother was nearing retirement and excited for what lied ahead.

"Next October was going to be his retirement time," Jeff said. "Plan was to get a fully contained SUV, spend six months traveling through Alaska. Go off the grid. He was really excited to do this, an adventure. He never got to do this."

Jeff said Krueger was "almost like a kid on Christmas" looking ahead to his plans.

Monday, Krueger was killed after a small aircraft crashed into his vehicle and two homes in a Santee neighborhood.

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"It did seem like I was in a dream," said Jeff. "Disbelief and shock ... I can’t believe Steve is gone ... Also, I can’t be this is the way it’s going down, crazy, like a movie."

Krueger, who lived in Pacific Beach and had worked for UPS for nearly 30 years, was at least one of the multiple deaths in the crash.

In a statement to ABC 10News, UPS said a moment of silence was held Tuesday at the time of the deadly crash and that Krueger was "held in high regard" by his friends and family:

“We are heartbroken by the loss of our driver Steve Krueger, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Those who knew Steve said he took pride in his work, and his positive attitude and joyful laugh made the hardest days a little lighter.

Steve was held in high regard and will be greatly missed.

UPS has coordinated a moment of silence today at 12:14 p.m. to pay our respects to Steve and his family.”

Jeff added that his brother was a fun and creative guy, who was restless and energetic.

"He would want us to think about him in a positive way, and not be sad," Jeff said. "He’d be upset if he knew people would be down by this. He wants people to remember the good things about him."

A candlelight vigil will be held on Thursday, October 14, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the crash site to honor Krueger.

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Two other people were hospitalized after the crash with burns.

Jim Slaff, the son of Maria and Phil Morris, who were hospitalized after the crash, said the explosion from the plane was devastating.

"They were sitting in the living room. Phil remembers hearing a loud noise. Before he could react, The plane hit, the window behind their heads blew in, fire went into house, over their heads. Phil saw that my mom's hair was on fire," Slaff said his parents told him. "Neighbors pulled her out of the window. Phil, who was looking for 10-year-old dog Roxie, eventually ran out of the back."

Phil suffered injuries to his head, one side of his face, and his arms and legs, according to Slaff. Maria suffered 3rd-degree burns on her head, face, and arms and hands, Slaff added.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help the Morris family with expenses.

Donations for the family are being accepted at the office of the family's insurance agent, James Cassady, at 9560 Cuyamaca St., Suite 104 in Santee. Gift cards are preferred. Cassady is also asking for family and friends for any family photos or mementos that help make the housing situation during the rebuild, more 'homey.'