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Siblings of UPS driver killed in Santee plane crash file lawsuit

Brother of Steve Krueger wants more information on cause of crash.

SANTEE, Calif. — The siblings of a UPS driver who was killed when a plane crashed into a Santee neighborhood last year have filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Steve Krueger, 61, had worked for UPS for about 30 years and was planning his retirement at the time of the crash on October 11, 2021.

Two people died, the pilot, Dr. Sugata Das, and Krueger.

Jeff Krueger is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in San Diego County Superior Court.  He sat down with CBS 8 to talk about his brother.

“He was just a great guy as a brother. He didn't have kids. So, my kids were kind of like his kids.  He was the cool uncle. He was the one who taught them how to water ski because he had his jet boat. And he goes snow skiing with us and all that,” said Jeff Krueger.

Shortly after the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board posted a preliminary report. But the report said nothing about why the plane crashed or who was at fault.

“We need more information. I mean, we're really still in the dark. We haven't got anything back from the FAA. And, initially, they said it was going to be at least two years for them to complete the investigation and give us anything,” said Krueger.

Steve Krueger’s three surviving siblings are hoping they will get more information about the pilot and the company he was flying for, Samarth Aviation LLC in Arizona. Yuma Regional Medical Center is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Attorney Robert Kashfian represents the family. He said the discovery phase of the lawsuit should yield more information.

“I want to ask questions directly. I want to be able to take a deposition. I want to be able to look at certain records that I don't have access to at this point,” said Kashfian.

The lawsuit alleges Dr. Das was flying the plane as part of his job at Yuma Regional Medical Center and the defendants were “negligent and careless” in the operation of the flight, which resulted in the crash.

CBS 8 reached out to Yuma Regional Medical Center. A spokesperson said Dr. Das worked at the medical center, but he was not employed there. 

Attorneys representing the medical center still have to respond to the lawsuit in court.

“It’s going to be up to the jury to decide what kind of damage the family members have suffered as a result of this incident,” said Kashfian.

Jeff Krueger still keeps in touch with the homeowners whose houses burned down at the scene of the crash. Those neighbors are still rebuilding, one year later.

“This isn't just about Steve. There are other people that it impacted,” said Krueger.

WATCH RELATED: One year anniversary of deadly plane crash in Santee neighborhood (Oct. 2022).



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