Santee Plane Crash

‘Can't Believe This Happened to Steve': UPS Employee Killed in Santee Plane Crash Was Months Shy From Retirement

Steve Krueger, who worked for UPS for more than three decades, had just purchased a house near Mammoth Lakes

NBC Universal, Inc.

What to Know

  • On Oct. 11, 2021, a doctor piloting a twin-engine Cessna C340 crashed at around 12:15 p.m. in a neighborhood in Santee in east San Diego County, destroying two homes and a UPS truck
  • The plane was headed to San Diego from Yuma, Arizona; according to its flight path, it was supposed to land at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa but never made it
  • At least two people were killed in the deadly plane crash: The pilot, Dr. Sugata Das, and the driver of the UPS truck, Steve Krueger

Delivery company UPS identified in a letter to employees the longtime worker who died Monday after an airplane clipped his truck while on the job, killing him just as he was on the verge of retirement.

UPS identified the longtime employee who was killed when a small aircraft crashed in a Santee neighborhood. NBC 7’s Audra Stafford has more on Steve Krueger.

Steve Krueger, who was a UPS employee for more than 30 years, is one of the two people killed in Monday’s tragic crash. He was doing his rounds in Santee and was in his delivery truck when a twin-engine Cessna C340 nosedived from the sky and crashed into a residential neighborhood.

“Our employees and Steve’s family need to know that he will always be remembered by his UPS family,” the delivery company said in its letter on Monday.

Jeff Kreuger said his brother, Steve, loved his job, particularly for the interactions he had with the customers along his route.

"At Christmastime, he really liked sweets and they would always bombard him with stuff," Jeff Kreuger said of his brother. "They really appreciated him and he always had fun with them. He was that kind of guy."

The news that his brother, a 61-year-old Ocean Beach resident, was struck by a plane while doing deliveries was "unbelievable," Jeff Kreuger said.

He keeps in mind a conversation he once had with his brother: "If something like this happened to one of us, everybody’s got to move forward, not just to be, be kept down by it, move forward, continue with life, remember the person and be positive."

"He was very much, you gotta be positive," Jeff Kreuger said. "Things will always get better and don’t take life so serious that it gets you down. Have fun with things."

Steve Krueger was fond of snow and the outdoors and had just purchased a home near Mammoth Lakes, a local told NBC 7. The late delivery driver was just months away from retirement and planned to spend much of his time in his new home.

UPS employee and Ocean Beach resident Steve Krueger poses with Mammoth Mountain mascot Woolly Mammoth in this undated image.
Jeff Krueger
UPS employee and Ocean Beach resident Steve Krueger poses with Mammoth Mountain mascot Woolly Mammoth in this undated image.
An undated image of Steve Krueger water skiing.
Jeff Krueger
An undated image of Steve Krueger water skiing.

Jim Leutkemeyer said Steve Krueger owned property in Ocean Beach and took great care of his tenants. He said the UPS employee’s dedication to them went as far as vacuuming the rooftops to ensure they lived in clean conditions.

Leutkemeyer, a neighbor and friend of Steve Krueger's, added that he enjoyed the UPS worker's playful sense of humor, which he said will be missed dearly.

“I was always joking with him because he’d say, ‘Can you help me, you know? I’m getting ready to start this project.’ and I’d say, ‘Oh, my back just flared up.’ So we always joked back and forth about our age,” Leutkemeyersaid. “I’m going to miss that. I just can’t believe this happened to Steve.”

On Tuesday, UPS issued another statement regarding Krueger's devastating death.

“We are heartbroken by the loss of our driver Steve Krueger, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends," the company's statement read. "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."

The company coordinated a moment of silence in honor of Krueger at 12:14 p.m. Tuesday – 24 hours after the fatal impact. A flag outside the UPS customer service center in Kearny Mesa was held at half-staff in remembrance of the employee.

Jeff Kreuger hopes that people remember his brother as the fun-loving, positive person he was.

Yeah, he is still young -- too young to be taken from us," Jeff Kreuger said. "But he also had a pretty good chunk of life and so he’d want everybody to be thinking of him in a positive light, laugh about it, and all that. That’s just the way he is."

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