Former Miss New Jersey, 24, Dies from Injuries Sustained in Car Crash

02/22/2016 AT 10:35 AM EST

Former Miss New Jersey Cara McCollum has passed away from injuries she suffered in a car crash Feb. 15, her family announced Monday.

She died at 4:31 a.m. surrounded by family in the operating room, they posted on Facebook.

McCollum, 24, was critically injured when her convertible spun off the highway in New Jersey and hit multiple trees before stopping at an embankment.

Thank you all for this tremendous outpouring of love and support for our Cara. We can’t begin to tell you how much your...

Posted by Prayers for Cara on Monday, 22 February 2016


Police believe that she may have been driving too fast on slick roads, and that drugs or alcohol were not involved. McCollum had been wearing a seatbelt, and the airbags did deploy.

Her family thanked McCollum's friends for their support on Facebook.

"Before she died, Cara made the selfless decision to donate her organs. At this very moment, she is saving lives."

"We've prayed constantly for a miracle, and we believe God has answered our prayers. Although it's not the miracle that we first envisioned, it's a miracle nonetheless."

News station SNJ Today, where McCollum was an anchor, posted their condolences.

"The entire SNJ Today family extends its condolences to the many loyal viewers, colleagues, friends and family of Cara McCollum," they wrote. "Whether you had the privilege of knowing her or if you enjoyed her newscasts during her all too brief time with us, you know that her smile, determination and sincerity made her a beloved individual."

"Cara showed warmth to everyone she met. She was a part of our news team family and we are gratified to have worked with her – even for such a short time. We will miss her terribly."

New Jersey governor Chris Christie also tweeted his sympathies.



A native of Arkansas, McCollum joined SNJ Today in July after graduating from Princeton University in 2015. She won the title of Miss New Jersey in 2013, and later represented her adopted state in the Miss America pageant.
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