New York Daily News

TEARS FOR BEAUTY

Crash kills anchor, an ex-Miss N.J.

- BYDANGOOD NEWYORK DAILY NEWS

A 24-YEAR-OLD beauty pageant winner and TV news anchor died Monday, a week after she was critically injured in a crash.

Cara McCollum, a Princeton grad who won the Miss New Jersey pageant in 2013 and participat­ed in the Miss America competitio­n, died at about 4:30 a.m., according to the Facebook page “Prayers for Cara,” which had been posting updates about McCollum’s condition.

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

“Although it’s not the miracle that we first envisioned, it’s a miracle nonetheles­s. In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

McCollum was critically injured after losing control of her Ford Mustang along Route 55 in Salem County, New Jersey state police said.

McCollum — who wasn’t wearing a seat belt — was believed to be driving too fast on the rain-slicked roadway when the crash occurred. Her car spun off the right side of the road and struck some trees before com- ing to restre at the bottom of an embankment.

She w was later taken to Cooper Health Systems,Systems where she underwent surgery but could notno be saved.

FollowingF­ollow her pageant days, McCollum became a news anchor and spent about six months workingw at SNJ Today, a Millvilleb­ased newsne provider. “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,” SNJ Today said in a statement. “We will miss her terribly.”

McCollum, an Arkansas native, is survived by her parents and brother, as well as her boyfriend, Keith Jones, an anchor at NBC affiliate station WCAUiWCAU in Philadelph­ia.

Jones reflected on her life in a Facebook post, sha sharing images of the couple’s happy times tog together.

“Wor “Words fall short of describing the pain, but I’m eternally grateful and blessed for the time I spent with Cara,” he wrote.

“Her enormous heart enriched my life and chan changed me forever.”

 ??  ?? Cara McCollum (l., main photo) is triumphant at 2013 Miss New Jersey pageant and rides in parade (above) after. She was working as TV anchor before deadly crash.
Cara McCollum (l., main photo) is triumphant at 2013 Miss New Jersey pageant and rides in parade (above) after. She was working as TV anchor before deadly crash.

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