PITTSGROVE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A former Miss New Jersey who competed in the 2014 Miss America pageant was critically injured when her convertible spun off a highway and hit a tree, state police said Tuesday.
Cara McCollum was northbound on Route 55 in Pittsgrove Township on Monday night when her car veered off the road and struck a tree, then spun again and hit two more trees before ending up in an embankment, police said.
The 24-year-old from Margate was alone in her vehicle and was not wearing a seat belt. She remained hospitalized Tuesday in critical condition. A hospital spokeswoman said her family has requested that no further information about her injuries be released.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
State police say McCollum appeared to have been driving too fast for conditions on the wet road. They do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor. The driver's side front air bag in her car deployed during the crash.
McCollum, an Arkansas native who graduated from Princeton University last summer, won the 2013 Miss New Jersey pageant. At the time, she said she planned to advocate for youth literacy.
McCollum is now an anchor on SNJ Today, a TV news show serving southern New Jersey.
The show issued a statement Tuesday, saying, "Cara is a beloved member of our SNJ Today family. She and her family are in our thoughts and prayers."
This story has been corrected to show that McCollum was not wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred and clarify that the driver's side front air bag in her car deployed in the crash, according to state police.