A Hamilton teenager had just dropped a friend in town and was on his way to visit his girlfriend when he was killed in a head-on crash.
Now Michael Mills' mother wants the public to know that he was the innocent driver.
The car that hit the 17-year-old was overtaking a truck when the collision occurred in Limmer Rd, Te Kowhai, on Friday night, police have confirmed.
The BMW was driven by Aucklander Graham Hare. The 64-year-old also died, and his wife, Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall, was seriously injured.
READ MORE: Crash leaves huge hole in family
Mike's mother, Mary-Ann, told the Herald this afternoon that the family were shocked and angry.
"Mike was driving down the road minding his own business when this guy has pulled out in front of him. Mike wouldn't have had a chance to know what was going on.
"I want people to know, because people reading about the crash will think, 'Oh, he's 17, he's a boy racer, he was a drunk.' He wasn't, and he even had his seatbelt on."
Mrs Mills said the most heartbreaking part was having to identify her son as he lay dead in Waikato Hospital.
"He had all broken bones and blood and a cut face. That I will never forget."
She said Mike was a "cheeky little bugger who enjoyed life".
He was the youngest of her six sons; the others are Stephen, Davey, Joseph, Tony and William.
"He was just taken too early," she said.
Mrs Mills said she felt sorry for the female truck driver, who "could do nothing but watch" the crash happen.
Mike had left school at the age of 10, because it wasn't working for him, and got a job.
By 16, he was a foreman with civil engineering company Civtec, then got a job with his brother Stephen at Mills Construction.
A family friend, who did not want to be named, said Mike had an energy about him and would be missed greatly.
"He was clever, cheeky and happy. He always had a smile on his face. He was loyal and always put his family first. He was quick with his wit and loved cars, bikes, his work and family."
The family friend said Mike was on his way to his girlfriend's house after dropping a friend off in Hamilton when the "family's world was torn apart".
She was also upset at how his life had been so abruptly taken.
"Mikey was the innocent party driving along obeying the road rules and, whammo, he was taken."
Mike's funeral will be held on Wednesday in the Hamilton Park Cemetery Chapel in Newstead at 1pm.