Gone too soon. Former Miss New Jersey Cara McCollum died in the early hours of Monday, February 22, after being critically injured in a car crash last week, NJ.com reports. The beauty queen was 24.

McCollum’s death comes seven days after sustaining serious injuries from a February 15 automobile accident. According to NJ.com, she was driving a 2014 Ford Mustang convertible and veered off the road, striking several trees. McCollum was not wearing a seat belt.

Originally from Arkansas, McCollum moved to New Jersey to attend Princeton University. She took the crown for Miss New Jersey in 2013 and competed for the title of Miss America in 2014, but did not place. 

During her 2013 reign, McCollum focused her efforts on promoting literacy among inner-city children. She also used her platform to help high school students attending Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande’s Women Leadership Institute.

"I think the world should know she is more than a beautiful Ivy League pageant queen," Casagrande said last week. "She is an incredible humanitarian who cares about the world."

No services have been announced at this time. In a “Prayers for Cara” Facebook post, it was confirmed that McCollum’s organs will be donated for medical research. 

Want stories like these delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter!