THE family of 19-year-old Scone man Lachlan Crisp have criticised police for releasing him from custody in the early hours of the morning, shortly before a drunk driver allegedly hit and killed him at Muswellbrook.
Family spokesman Luke Reichel, of Maitland, said police told Mr Crisp's mother Kathyrn Reichel and sister Ainsleigh Crisp that they would keep him "locked up overnight and safe, but they let him go".
Mr Reichel said his nephew was arrested over "personal issues".
"He had a few problems that night as teenagers sometimes do," Mr Reichel said.
"Police had come to get him and they took him to Muswellbrook."
Mr Reichel said police offered Mr Crisp a lift home, but he declined.
"If he refused a lift, they should have kept him in there, let him sleep it off and wake up in the morning with a bit more clarity and one of us could have got him," Mr Reichel said.
Mr Crisp died after a vehicle hit him at 5am on Saturday while walking along the New England Highway.
Mr Reichel said his nephew was "upset and agitated" that night.
"We can only guess police let him go around 3am," he said.
It was a 26-kilometre walk from Muswellbrook to his home in Scone.
"It would have taken him a good couple of hours to get to where the incident happened, if he walked all the way," Mr Reichel said.
Mr Reichel said the family "deserves answers".
"The duty of care is disgraceful from our point of view," he said.
"We weren't there so we don't know the full story. But we want to know why he was let go."
A police media spokesman said police were investigating the man's death and "will include all their findings in a report to the coroner".
A spokesman for Police Minister Michael Gallacher offered condolences to the family and said the minister would await the coroner's investigation.
A police spokesman said the driver had been charged with mid-range drink-driving.
The spokesman said witnesses saw Mr Crisp walking on the road in the northbound lane.
Mr Crisp was a first-year building apprentice and former Scone High School student, who played rugby league and cricket.
"His dream job was to be a builder and after knock-backs over a couple of years, that dream was realised," Mr Reichel said.
"He loved life, loved a beer and was always there for his mates."