BRANDON — Robert P. Armstrong Jr. meant to end a night of roadwork on Interstate 75 by positioning a mobile speed limit sign, a reminder to slow down in the construction zone.
But as he did, a pickup truck veered onto the shoulder, crushing the warning sign, striking another truck and killing Armstrong, a 19-year-old new father.
The Florida Highway Patrol said it happened around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday in the southbound lanes of I-75 near State Road 60.
Logan Tanner Feagle, 21, of Land O'Lakes, failed to maintain control of his truck, the patrol said. He has not been charged as the investigation continues.
Armstrong died from skull fractures with brain contusions due to blunt impact to the head, according to Dick Bailey, the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office spokesman.
Armstrong, a 2010 graduate of Brandon High School, had only recently become a father. His daughter, Savannah, was born four months ago to Tiffany Coleman, another Brandon alumnus and Armstrong's fiancee.
A proud parent, Armstrong's Facebook profile picture shows him holding Savannah, nuzzling his face against hers. His page is covered with pictures of his new daughter.
"He was doing everything you were supposed to do," said family friend Wayne Strohaker. "He's going to be missed by a lot of people."
The death has devastated his family, Strohaker said.
A former teacher of his burst into tears after hearing the news, Brandon High School principal Carl Green said. "He was just a really good kid that you would be glad to meet and talk to," Green said.
The family plans to create a fund for Savannah, Strohaker said.
Feagle, who did not return phone calls for comment Tuesday, has been cited for speeding three times since 2005 and was found guilty of careless driving in 2006, state records show.
Armstrong was working on a truck on the outside shoulder of the southbound roadway, attaching a sign alerting motorists of their speed. He worked for Pepper Contracting Services.
All southbound lanes of I-75 were temporarily closed for the crash investigation.