Former Miss America contestant Cara McCollum died Monday morning, a week after a devastating car accident. She was 24.
McCollum, a former Miss New Jersey, was critically injured after her car spun off a New Jersey highway and crashed into trees. She died at Cooper University Hospital, Frank DiMauro, the chief operating officer of the TV station where she worked, told the Associated Press.
“Before she died, Cara made the selfless decision to donate her organs,” her family wrote on Facebook. “At this very moment, she is saving lives.”
McCollum was traveling alone and not wearing a seatbelt when her Mustang veered off the road in Salem County and struck a tree, spun and hit two more trees. State police said it appeared McCollum was driving too fast for the wet road conditions. Alcohol or drug consumption wasn’t believed to be a factor.
McCollum graduated from Princeton University and was an anchor on a news show, “SNJ Today,” serving southern New Jersey. After winning the title of Miss New Jersey in 2013, McCollum entered the Miss America pageant, losing to Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered his condolences on Twitter.
“Very sad to learn of the passing of Miss New Jersey 2013 Cara McCollum. Thoughts & prayers to her family, friends & the @MissAmericaOrg community.”
Very sad to learn of the passing of Miss NJ 2013 Cara McCollum. Thoughts & prayers to her family, friends & the @MissAmericaOrg community.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) February 22, 2016
“We are deeply saddened to learn of Miss New Jersey 2013 Cara McCollum’s passing,” the Miss America Organization tweeted.
We are deeply saddened to learn of Miss New Jersey 2013 Cara McCollum’s passing. https://t.co/9QI5rhSymT
— Miss America Org (@MissAmericaOrg) February 22, 2016