The crash happened on the A41 near Hinstock in north Shropshire at around 7.45am on Thursday, West Mercia Police said.
The driver, a 20-year-old man from Dudley, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The passenger, also a man, had to be cut free by firefighters before being airlifted to hospital in a critical condition.
The road was closed for several hours while police officers, West Midlands Ambulance Service and Shropshire Fire and Rescue dealt with the incident.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Ambulance crews arrived to find a van which had left the road and collided with a tree. It quickly became apparent to crews that nothing could be done to save the driver, a man, and he was sadly confirmed deceased on scene.
“The second occupant, a man, was in a critical condition. Ambulance staff worked quickly with the fire service to extricate him from the vehicle before administering advanced trauma care on scene. Once stabilised the patient was airlifted to Royal Stoke University Hospital for further emergency care.”
Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service was called to Shakeford Farm, Hinstock and fire engines were scrambled from Hodnet and Market Drayton along with operations and principal officers.
Firefighters used cutters, spreaders and rams on the scene.
Meanwhile the ambulance service sent an air ambulance, trauma doctor, critical care paramedic and land ambulance.
West Mercia Police is investigating and anyone with any information is asked to contact the force quoting reference 100 of 18 November.