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NTSB releases preliminary report on Santee plane crash as crowds line up for fundraiser to help victims

Carlos Castillo
Vehicles line up outside the Wendy's restaurant on Mission Gorge Road in Santee on October 26, 2021.

There was a big crowd at the Wendy’s on Mission Gorge Road in Santee on Tuesday. Many people were there for more than just the food.

“Anything I could do to help — that’s why I’m here,” Jackie Brown said.

Brown was munching on some chicken nuggets and fries inside Wendy's dining room. She said she heard about a fundraiser happening at the restaurant with money being raised for the two families impacted by the Oct. 11 crash.


RELATED: A small plane crashed in a San Diego suburb, killing at least 2 people

Maria and Phil Morris lived in the house on the corner of Jeremy and Greencastle streets. Neighbors pulled them to safety and they’re still in the hospital recovering.

The other family — Cody and Courtney Campbell — weren’t home at the time of the crash. They spent part of their Tuesday morning at this Wendy’s where all proceeds, not just profit, are being donated to the two families.

“There’s no words to describe this kind of support. 'Thank you a thousand times' doesn’t even come close," said Cody Campbell.

"Coming up with this on their own here, like Cody said it leaves you kind of speechless, you know,” his wife Courtney added.


Brian Spongberg said he got a call from the general manager of the Mission Gorge restaurant shortly after the crash — wondering how they could help.

Spongberg's father owns all the Wendy’s restaurants in the San Diego area.

A sign outside a Wendy's restaurant in Santee reads "Neighbors Supporting Neighbors," Oct. 26, 2021. The restaurant is hosting a fundraiser for the two families affected by the Oct. 11, 2021, plane crash.
Carlos Castillos
A sign outside a Wendy's restaurant in Santee reads "Neighbors Supporting Neighbors," Oct. 26, 2021. The restaurant is hosting a fundraiser for the two families affected by the Oct. 11, 2021, plane crash.

“We really wanted to step up and help our neighbors out," said Spongberg.

That led to Tuesday's fundraiser. It started at 6:30 a.m. when the restaurant opened. It was scheduled to go until 10 p.m. when the restaurant closes.

“You gotta pay the taxes on the purchases, but other than that, 100% will go to the two families," Spongberg said.
This act of generosity came as the NTSB released its initial findings on the crash. The report is preliminary, but it does give a window into what was going on just moments before the crash. It makes it clear that the pilot was off course, and flying way too low.

A transcript of the back and forth between the pilot, Dr. Sugata Das, and an air traffic controller shows the controller ordering a course correction just after 12:09 p.m.

Over the next several minutes, the controller continues to order course and altitude corrections until finally at about 12:13 p.m., he again tells Das he’s at the wrong altitude and orders him to climb immediately. Less than two minutes later, the plane slammed into the homes at Jeremy and Greencastle streets.

Now memorials mark the place where this tragedy happened, one for Steve Krueger, the UPS driver who was killed, and another for the Morris’ dog Roxy, who didn’t survive.

Back at the Wendy’s, the lines inside and out were only growing. The Campbells said they had to go look at a rental home — a place to stay while their home is rebuilt.

They do have insurance, but it won’t cover everything. Courtney said seeing all the people show up reassured her that they chose the right place to live.

“We grew up here, but we decided to stay here for a reason," she said. "And this community and everything that they’re doing to help support us, it just reminds us that we made the right call."

The support of a community, a silver lining to the unimaginable tragedy of losing one’s home.

NTSB releases preliminary report on Santee plane crash, while restaurant holds a fundraiser

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