“Bridgerton” writer Julia Quinn’s father and sister were killed in a highway crash in Utah, the grieving author said.
Stephen Lewis Cotler, 77, and Violet Charles, 37, died in an accident last week on Interstate 15 in Davis County – which began when a load of canvas bags from a catering company overturned on the road, setting off a chain reaction involving a drunk driver, the Utah Department of Public Safety said.
“I lost my dad and my sister,” Quinn, real name Julie Pottinger, said in a heartbreaking Facebook post Wednesday night. “Because a catering company did not secure its load and canvas bags were spilled on the highway. Because a pick-up driver didn’t think about driving when his blood alcohol level was almost 3 times the legal limit.
“I lost my father and I don’t have my sister to mourn with,” she continued. “I lost my sister Violet Charles Comics, with whom I had just finished writing a graphic novel. It was dedicated to our father.
“It will always be dedicated to our father. It won’t be a surprise anymore, but I would like to think he suspected we would. He knew us so well. It was our father.
The accident happened around 8:30 p.m. on June 29 when the catering company lost its load – at which point “two cars stopped, or nearly stopped for the debris,” authorities said.
A green Ford F-250, driven by a drunk driver, fell into stopped traffic and crashed into a red Toyota Prius from California – with Cotler at the wheel and Charles as a passenger.
The Prius then struck a silver Chevrolet Malibu, authorities said.
Cotler and Charles were pronounced dead at the scene.
Another adult man was taken to hospital by medical helicopter in critical condition, police said.
The Ford driver, who sustained minor injuries, was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
The occupants of the Malibu were taken to hospital in serious condition, cops said.
Cotler – who attended Harvard College and Harvard Business School and worked for many years in the corporate world – was most passionate about writing, according to a post from his children on this Facebook page.
He was the author of the famous “Cheesie Mack” series for intermediate level readers.
Charles – real name Ariana Elise Cotler – was a renowned designer. Her service dog, Michelle, also died in the crash, according to the Facebook post.
Quinn’s “Bridgerton” series was turned into a hit Netflix series last year.
The steamy period drama, produced by Shonda Rhimes, stars Rege-Jean Page, Phoebe Dynevor, Nicola Coughlan and Jonathan Bailey, among others.