Santee

Neighbors Remember Santee Plane Crash on First Anniversary

A closer look at the debris left at what was once a Santee home.
NBC 7

Tuesday marks the first anniversary of a plane crash that killed two people and rocked a neighborhood in Santee. The tragedy of the crash, which also destroyed two homes, is still fresh in the memories of neighbors near Jeremy and Greencastle streets.

Dr. Sugata Das was killed when his plane went down and collided with a UPS delivery truck. The driver, Steve Krueger, was also killed.

A balcony security camera recorded the moment a small plane crashed into a San Diego neighborhood just blocks from a high school, killing at least two people and destroying several homes.

The plane slid into two homes, the first and second homes from the intersection, and exploded.

Cory and Courtney Campell, a newlywed couple, were away from home when the plane went down. Phil and Maria Morri escaped death as their corner home went up in flames. Maria was rescued from the burning home by neighbors and spent weeks in the hospital with burn injuries.

Speaking from her hospital bed, Maria Morris found the strength to thank her neighbors for rescuing her from her burning Santee home after a plane crashed into it last week.

Cory Campbell came by Monday afternoon to show his mother the progress on the rebuild. He and his wife had just finished remodeling the house before the crash. He declined an on-camera interview Monday but said he has great hope for the future, which includes a bay boy due on Thursday.

His house isn't quite finished yet, but Cory said he sees the rebuild as an opportunity to start anew.

Images of that day, though, still burn in the memories of those who lived through it.

"I feel for the families," neighbor Carrie Rose said. "I wonder where they have been living all this year, and hopefully they have family around and people to help them out."

Rose walks the neighborhood with her young son, Finley, daily.

The third house from the intersection of Jeremy and Greencastle operates as a care home for adults with learning disabilities. Erika, an employee at Home of Guiding Hands, told NBC 7, "I don't want to remember anything."

New drone video shows the utter devastation left on Greencastle Street in Santee, California, after a deadly plane crash killed two people and destroyed two homes. NBC 7's Audra Stafford shares the latest from the scene, including details on a vigil planned for Thursday night.

Erika was working that day.

"I had one of my resident's arm in arm, and we had to pause at that door because as we were about to run out something flew right in front of us on fire," she remembered.

"I seen the UPS truck on fire so I thought it was kind of like 9/11 all over again," she added.

Elizabeth, another neighbor whose yard was covered in debris, wished not to go on camera but said she can’t shake the feelings she had that day.

"When it hit and made contact, you could feel it. It felt like a freight train hitting a big old boulder," she said. “Everything just spinning around your head. It’s still that way when you hear an airplane."

Airplanes flying overhead, coming in and out of nearby Gillespie Field, and even jets buzzing county skies, are a constant reminder.

"When the jets go by I freeze and I get a weird feeling over me that I can’t explain," Elizabeth said.

A permanent memorial for UPS driver Steve Krueger should be finished within the next few months, NBC 7's Ramon Galindo reports.

Over the weekend, a memorial was held for Krueger in Ocean Beach. His family, friends and co-workers spent most of the day making a huge sand sculpture in his honor.

They say it included the things Krueger was most passionate about — his job, and skiing.

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