Lawsuits Initiated Against Deceased Pilot’s Estate Following Santee Plane Crash That Killed UPS Driver

Multiple lawsuits have been launched against the estate of the pilot involved in last year’s fatal plane crash in Santee, which resulted in substantial injuries to a couple when their home was struck by the plane. The suits have been lodged by five families and businesses.

The lawsuits accuse pilot Sugata Kalipada Das, a cardiologist, of negligence. Das, alongside 61-year-old UPS driver Steve Krueger, died in the October 2021 incident when the plane hit Krueger’s delivery truck. The plane was apparently owned by Samarth Aviation, an Arizona limited liability company for which Das was the listed agent, and is also named as a defendant in three of the lawsuits. Additionally, Krueger’s siblings are suing Das’s employer, the Yuma Regional Medical Center, asserting that the flight fell within the boundaries of Das’s employment since his daily commute included the flight route between San Diego and Yuma.

The plaintiffs include Philip and Maria Morris, a couple in their 70s who suffered severe burns from plane wreckage and debris before being saved from their burning home by neighbors. A family of three living close by are seeking damages for emotional distress and the partial destruction of their home. Two insurance companies are also trying to recover costs associated with home damages caused by crash debris.

The Morrises’ attorney, Timothy Loranger, stated his clients are still recovering from their injuries, describing it as a “long road”.

The lawsuits shed no further light on the incident itself, which took place at approximately 12:15 p.m. on October 11 near Greencastle and Jeremy streets, adjacent to Santana High School. The case is still under federal investigation. However, they do outline some of the damages resulting from the crash, including emotional trauma, severe burns, and significant property damage reaching into tens of thousands of dollars.

According to the Morris’ lawsuit, they both endured serious burns and lasting injuries, resulting in ongoing medical expenses and diminished quality of life.

A family whose home was damaged has since moved to Alaska. Their lawsuit mentions their minor daughter’s “severe emotional trauma”, which necessitates ongoing physician and therapy services.

Home of Guiding Hands, a nonprofit running 31 group homes serving individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, had one of their houses hit by crash debris. Their insurer is seeking to recover property damages exceeding $105,000. Another insurance company, representing a different damaged home, is aiming to recover more than $27,000.