UPS Driver Killed in California Plane Crash Identified: He 'Made the Hardest Days a Little Lighter'

·2 min read
Small plane crashes into UPS delivery truck and home, Santee
Small plane crashes into UPS delivery truck and home, Santee

K C Alfred/San Diego Tribune/Shutterstock

Family and co-workers are mourning the loss of a UPS driver who was killed when a small plane crashed in a Southern California city Monday afternoon.

Steve Krueger was a hard worker who "was held in high regard," a spokesperson for UPS said in a statement to PEOPLE on Tuesday.

"We are heartbroken by the loss of our driver Steve Krueger, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends," the spokesperson wrote. "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."

The plane, which the Federal Aviation Administration identified as a twin-engine Cessna C340 in a statement shared with PEOPLE, crashed at around 12:14 p.m. PT. The FAA was unable to identify how many people were aboard the aircraft at the time of the crash.

According to updates posted to the Santee city website Monday, the plane "crashed into two residential homes," also striking a delivery truck and fire hydrant. Witnesses told NBC San Diego that the plane's wing hit a UPS truck and the body of the aircraft then "slid toward two homes and exploded."

The pilot of the plane, who was identified by NBC San Diego as Dr. Sugata Das, also died in the crash, authorities said.

Two others were transported to the hospital for their injuries, according to a news release issued Monday by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Small plane crashes into UPS delivery truck and home, Santee
Small plane crashes into UPS delivery truck and home, Santee

K C Alfred/San Diego Tribune/Shutterstock

RELATED: California Plane Crash Kills At Least 2, Including Pilot and UPS Driver

Steve's brother, Jeff Kreuger, told NBC San Diego that the news of his brother's death was "unbelievable."

"He is still young — too young to be taken from us," Jeff 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."

The Ocean Beach resident said his brother was always reminding him that "things will always get better and don't take life so serious that it gets you down. Have fun with things."

According to NBC San Diego, UPS coordinated a moment of silence for Steve at 12:14 p.m. on Tuesday, marking 24 hours since his tragic death. The company also reportedly flew a flag outside the customer service center in Kearny Mesa at half-staff in his honor.