A teen killed in car crash on Thursday asked his father to pick him up before instead catching a fatal ride with a friend.

Ravineel Sharma was drinking with friends in the Central Otago town of Alexandra when his father, Ratnesh Sharma, arrived to pick up.

But his 19-year-old son turned him away, Ratnesh Sharma told Fairfax.

"I was going to pick [wife] Santa up from the Four Square where she works. I went there and he said, 'go pick Mum first and come back and pick me up'."

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Before he could return his son texted to say he would get a ride home with friends.

Four hours later - at 2am - there was a knock at the door.

It was the police telling them his eldest child, his "bubbly", hard-working son, was dead, Ratnesh Sharma told Fairfax.

"It was our worst nightmare."

Their son, an apprentice plumber, was the front seat passenger in a car that crashed into a tree on Coates Rd.

The 19-year-old driver, who is from Ranfurly, was critically injured, and a back-seat passenger, also aged 19, received minor injuries.

Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk, of Alexandra, said yesterday the crash was "completely preventable". Speed and alcohol were significant factors in the police investigation,

"We have a local family grieving the loss of their son and brother, and our community feeling the loss of one of our local boys from a well-known family.

"We can only hope that this tragedy helps reinforce the message about the need to keep ourselves our friends and our whanau safe."

Ratnesh Sharma told Fairfax he and his wife were not angry with the driver, but hoped other young people would learn from the tragedy.