SPRING HILL, Fla. -- A 46-year-old middle school principal was killed Friday morning when his pickup failed to stop for a turning tractor-trailer, and crashed.

Adam C. Kennedy, principal of Crews Lake Middle, died in the crash on State Road 52. Sadly, he was heading to the school, even though he took the day off.

"Everybody knew him, he really cared about his school," said Linda Cobbe, Pasco County Schools spokeswoman.

"He was supposed to be off today, but he was coming in to meet with a parent. It’s his wife’s birthday."

At about 6:45 a.m., Kennedy was westbound in a pickup on S.R. 52 near U.S. 41 when he hit a tractor-trailer in front of him that had slowed to make a right turn, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Kennedy, of Land O' Lakes, failed to stop for the truck and he hit it, and then collided with a fence.

Trever Deal and his sister left school early, but not without honoring the principal by creating a small memorial.

"Just, he was a really great man," Deal said.

"Just walk around in the hallway and you see people crying, the teachers upset, just everyone really upset."

More than 70 students left early, overcome by the news. Some found comfort by leaving notes of love and condolences.

"There are a lot of people that are really torn up about this," Cobbe said.

Kennedy leaves behind his wife and two children who are in elementary school.

Statement from Pasco County Schools on the Death of Adam Kennedy

The entire Pasco County Schools family is deeply saddened at the news of the tragic death of Crews Lake Middle School Principal Adam Kennedy. He was an incredible human being and an amazing administrator.

We have crisis team members at the school, and at Weightman Middle School, where Adam was a social studies teacher and tech specialist for 10 years. He was appointed assistant principal at Crews Lake in 2009, and became principal on January 20, 2015.

Crisis team members are counseling teachers, staff, and students at both Crews Lake and Weightman middle schools. They also are available for district staff members at the district office complex campus, and to administrators and teachers throughout the district, to help them cope with the loss.

“I am devastated,” said Superintendent Kurt Browning, who called School Board members to share the news this morning. “I don’t know why things like this happen. Adam was such a tremendous person.”

Mr. Kennedy was married to a district teacher, and they have two elementary-aged children.