After wreck, Miss Idaho wasn't sure she'd be able to compete
BATON ROUGE - Growing up in a small western town, Claira Hollingsworth was looking for her big break and has been excited all year that it could happen this summer.
But, just a few weeks before arriving in Baton Rouge for the Miss USA pageant, Hollingsworth - competing as Miss Idaho - had her world shaken. She was in Sacramento and in a bad car wreck. The Jeep she was riding in flipped over, ejecting everyone from the vehicle except Hollingsworth.
"[The driver] turned the corner too sharp, and rolled the Jeep. We rolled a few times. Everyone was ejected but me," she said in an exclusive interview with WBRZ reporter Brittany Weiss for WBRZ News 2 at 10:00 Tuesday.
"All I saw was the world turning around me."
Police said they believe the driver hit something, overturned and landed on the side where Hollingsworth was sitting.
The crash broke her hand and cut her skin. The injuries are still healing, but Hollingsworth has chosen not to wear a cast while she competes for the Miss USA crown. Instead, she is wearing a brace.
Her injuries slowed her training and planning for her trip to Miss USA.
"Going through my head is that I can't walk, I'm not going to be able to train," she said, adding she was sure she was not going to be able to use her hand.
She asked herself, "how am I going to keep going?"
Eventually, with hard work and tough love from doctors, she safely managed to get back into her routine and arrive in Baton Rouge.
"[I] refocused my energy toward mentally being ready for Miss USA instead of just physically, because I didn't have a choice."
"There is a reason why I'm here, and I have to do my very best to find out what that reason is and move forward and uplift everyone I can while I'm hear," she said.
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