Former Miss New Jersey Dies a Week After Crash

Cara McCollum represented the state in 2013.

Cara McCollum and Keith Jones at the 2015 Red Ball. | Photo by HughE Dillon.

Cara McCollum and Keith Jones at the 2015 Red Ball. | Photo by HughE Dillon.

Cara McCollum, the former Miss New Jersey who was injured last week in a car crash, has died of her injuries. She was 24.

The announcement came at a Facebook site, “Prayers for Cara,” set up after the crash, saying she died at 4:31 a.m. Monday. “Before she died, Cara made the selfless decision to donate her organs,” the post said. “At this very moment, she is saving lives.”

She won the Miss New Jersey pageant in 2013 and competed for Miss America in 2014. More recently, she worked for SNJ Today, a show seen on New Jersey television stations, and was a fixture on the Philadelphia social scene with her boyfriend, NBC10’s Keith Jones.

HughE Dillon photographed her and Jones at last year’s Red Ball. He said the duo met at the previous year’s edition of the ball.

“Cara was a bright light, who always saw the positive in everyone and spread joy in her wake,” Dillon said in an email to Philly Mag. “She always went out of her way to greet people, add to a conversation and was genuinely excited about everything she did.”

Similar praise came from co-workers.

“The entire SNJ Today family extends its condolences to the many loyal viewers, colleagues, friends and family of Cara McCollum,” the show said on its Facebook page. “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.”

McCollum was reportedly alone in her vehicle, not wearing a seatbelt, when her car spun off a roadway Feb. 15 in Pittsgrove.