It happened on shortly after 10.30pm on Monday December 27.
A green Renault Clio was travelling towards the Leeds direction when it crashed on the stretch of the B1222 known as Bishopdyke Road, near the junction with New Lennerton Lane.
The car left the road and landed in a channel of water known as Bishop Dyke.
The 21-year-old man, from Barnsley, died at the scene.
A second man, also aged in his 20s, sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital.
The road was closed to allow emergency services to attend to the casualties and to allow collision investigators to examine the scene.
It reopened at around 11am on 28 December.
Officers are appealing to anyone who was in the area at the time of crash or saw a green Renault Clio travelling towards Sherburn-in-Elmet in the minutes leading up to the incident and to anyone who witnessed or passed the incident, to contact them.
In particular, officers have asked people to contact them if they saw this vehicle with any other vehicles or any other vehicles around this area at this time.
Anyone who can can assist the investigation, is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for the Major Collision Investigation Team, or email [email protected]
Quote reference 12210268428 when passing on information.