By CBSLA Staff

SANTEE (CBSLA) — The UPS driver who was killed when a small plane crashed into his work truck was remembered as a man with a positive attitude who took pride in his work.

Steve Krueger was identified Tuesday by UPS, who said they would observe a moment of silence in his honor at 12:14 p.m.

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“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,” a statement from UPS said. “Steve was held in high regard and will be greatly missed.”

Krueger was inside his UPS delivery truck at about 12:14 p.m. when a twin-engine Cessna crashed into it and two homes in Santee, which is north of San Diego. The impact of the crash left the truck a charred shell, burned down two homes, and damaged 10 others.

Neighbors stunned by the sudden wreckage in their midst were even more disheartened to find that Krueger had been inside his truck when the plane crashed into it. They said he had become a friend during the lonely days of the pandemic.

“He was always personal with his deliveries,” one of the neighbors said. “He was a friend. He treated everybody like a person — not a customer, but a person.”

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Krueger’s brother said he loved his job and had donned the signature brown uniform on jet skis, holding the familiar UPS box. On another occasion he did the same thing on skis to pose with a mascot in the snow.

“Yeah, he had a group of friends he always goes water skiing with and one day, he sends me this,” Jeffrey Krueger said. “And the same — he loved to snow ski. And one day, he sent me one of them in his uniform, on skis, on the slopes, giving a package to the woolly mammoth mascot up there.”

(credit: Yuma Regional Medical Center)

The plane had been flown by Dr. Sugata Das, who lived in San Diego, but was known for flying to Yuma Regional Medical Center in Arizona regularly. Das had worked at the hospital since 2005 as a cardiologist.

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“Our community has lost an exceptional physician, colleague and friend, a man who dedicated his life and career to caring for patients,” the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bharat Magu said in a statement. “Dr. Das was an outstanding cardiologist and dedicated family man. He was a highly disciplined physician who thrived on each opportunity to improve care for heart patients.”