The father and sister of “Bridgerton” writer Julia Quinn were killed in a highway pile-up in Utah, the grieving author said.
Stephen Lewis Cotler, 77, and Violet Charles, 37, died in a crash last week on Interstate 15 in Davis County — which began when a catering company’s load of canvas bags spilled onto the road, sparking a chain-reaction smash-up involving a drunk driver, the Utah Department of Public Safety said.
“I have lost my father and my sister,” Quinn, whose real name is Julie Pottinger, said in a heartbreaking Facebook post Wednesday night. “Because a catering company did not secure their load and canvas bags spilled onto the highway. Because a pickup driver thought nothing of driving while his blood alcohol level was nearly 3 times the legal limit.”
“I have lost my father, and I don’t have my sister with whom to grieve,” she continued. “I have lost my sister Violet Charles Comics, with whom I had just finished writing a graphic novel. It was dedicated to our father.”
“It will still be dedicated to our father. It won’t be a surprise anymore, but I’d like to think he suspected we’d do it. He knew us so well. He was our dad.”
The crash happened around 8:30 p.m. June 29 when the catering company lost its load — at which time “two cars stopped, or nearly stopped for the debris,” according to authorities.
A green Ford F-250, operated by a drunk driver, came upon the stopped traffic and slammed into a red Toyota Prius out of California — with Cotler at the wheel and Charles riding as a passenger.
The Prius then struck a silver Chevy Malibu, authorities said.
Cotler and Charles were pronounced dead at the scene.
Another adult male was taken to the hospital by medical helicopter in critical condition, police said.
The Ford driver, who sustained minor injuries, was busted for driving while intoxicated.
The occupants of the Malibu were taken to the 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 message from his children, posted on this Facebook page.
He was the author of the celebrated “Cheesie Mack” series for middle-grade readers.
Charles — whose real name was Ariana Elise Cotler — was a noted cartoonist. Her service dog, Michelle, also died in the crash, according to the Facebook post.
Quinn’s “Bridgerton” series was turned into a smash-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.