SAMSON, Ala. (WDHN) — Hearts are heavy for school administrators and Samson students after John Howerton, a middle school student was killed in an ATV accident.

“J.P. was a very special student, he’s a child you don’t pass on the sidewalk and he’s not smiling just an amazing young man,” says Edie Hand.

On Sunday, Howerton and another passenger were driving an ATV on Gilmore Street in Kinston and suddenly it rolled over. The other passenger wasn’t injured but sadly, Howerton was pronounced dead on the scene.

Howerton is the son of Slocomb’s Police Chief Scotty Howerton and a sixth grader at Samson Middle School.

His school was beyond saddened and kept his spirits – they held a prayer circle for him inside the high school gym.

“Very large turnout, he comes from a large family everybody loves J.P. so we had people say a couple of prayers and verses,” says Hand.

Hand says Howerton was popular as he was involved in many extracurricular activities like helping the football team.

She says the loss of Howerton does not only affect the middle school, l but all of the grades at Samson.

They even beefed up their efforts to help students navigate through the tough day.

“We brought in extra counselors and local pastors and we allowed them to say good things in first period,” says Edie

Hand says she’ll miss his charm in the hallways.

“He’ll be having a real hard time but he would always speak and if he didn’t you knew something was wrong he was a happy child,” she says.

Middle School Principal Hand says it’s going to be tough to navigate through the rest of the school year and a candlelight vigil will be held for him later this week.