Santee Council Recognizes Neighbors for ‘Heroic’ Acts Amid Crash

SANTEE, Calif .– Days after a small plane crashed in a Santee neighborhood, city leaders stopped on Wednesday to honor those who have stepped up to help the community during an emotionally trying week.

“We had people who came to the aid of those who were likely to perish and they didn’t,” Santee Mayor John Minto said at Wednesday’s meeting. “No hero is born. Heroes are people who come forward to do heroic things. There is no rhyme or reason why this happened or how they were chosen to manifest and we had citizens who did it on Monday.

The twin-engine Cessna C340 crashed around 12:15 p.m. Monday at the intersection of Greencastle and Jeremy streets. The plane, owned by cardiologist Dr. Sugata Das, was en route from Yuma, Ariz., To the Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Das and UPS driver Steve Krueger were killed in the crash. He left behind a trail of destruction in Santee, including leveling two houses, damaging several others and leaving a significant amount of debris behind.

Krueger’s car remains in the UPS parking lot at Kearny Mesa where it has drawn a growing memorial from friends and colleagues.

Following the tragedy, Krueger’s family said they were moved by the support.

“The outpouring of affection that we see for my brother is overwhelming,” said Jeff Krueger, Steve’s brother. “It makes it a lot easier just to know how so many people felt about him.”

Steve’s half-sister also spoke to FOX 5 about how he will be remembered.

“The happiest, most loving person,” said Georgia Gonzales. “Everyone loved him and it’s been proven so many times, look at the people on his way. He loved working for UPS.

Das worked at Yuma Regional Medical Center located in the southwestern part of Arizona. His hospital offered condolences on his death earlier this week, saying the community had lost “an exceptional doctor, colleague and friend, a man who has dedicated his life and career to caring for patients.”

Although his family has not spoken publicly, Krueger’s family keep them in their thoughts.

“We are all waiting for more information on the doctor who was probably piloting the plane and our hearts are with their families and those who have lost their homes or have been affected by it,” Gonzales said. “It’s terrible.”

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Thursday at the corner of Boulevard Mast and Rue Jeremy, within walking distance of the crash site to honor the two victims. It starts at 7 p.m.


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