'Bridgerton' Author Julia Quinn Says Her Father and Sister Were Killed by a Drunk Driver

Julia Quinn
Roberto Filho

'I have lost my father, and I don't have my sister with whom to grieve,' she shared on Facebook.

Julia Quinn is sharing some heartbreaking news with fans.

The 51-year-old author of the beloved Bridgerton series revealed via Facebook on Wednesday that her father, Steve Cotler, and sister, Violet Charles, were tragically killed by a drunk driver last month.

"I have lost my father and my sister. 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 three times the legal limit," Quinn's post began. "I have lost my father, and I don't have my sister with whom to grieve. I have lost my sister Violet Charles, with whom I had just finished writing a graphic novel."

"It was dedicated to our father. It will still be dedicated to our father," the post continued. "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."

Quinn also shared a message from her and her siblings, which was posted to their father's Facebook page on Wednesday.

"On June 29, 2021, our father Steve Cotler was killed by a drunk driver in a crash that also took the life of his youngest daughter, the noted cartoonist Violet Charles. Violet's beloved service dog Michelle also perished in the crash," the statement read. "Steve attended Harvard College and Harvard Business School and worked for many years in the corporate world. But his true passion was writing. He spent many years as a screenwriter before discovering what his family knew all along: his heart had never lost the spark of an 11-year-old boy. He wrote the celebrated Cheesie Mack series for middle grade readers and made hundreds of school visits around the country, bringing his irrepressible spirit to thousands of children."

"He also took particular delight in being 'the most embarrassing dad ever' and may have clinched this award in the late 70s with an appearance on the Gong Show. (He was gonged)," the statement continued. "His daughter Julia Quinn, however, tells the story of when she finally stopped being embarrassed by her father: 'It was his 25th reunion. I was a sophomore, so I stayed in Cambridge to attend the festivities with him. The entire class of '65 had gone to a club in Boston for dancing, and Janet Jackson came on the speakers. My father started dancing very badly (typical) but with great enthusiasm (also typical). I saw a few teenagers pointing and snickering, and I thought, 'Yeah, you WISH your dad danced like that.' After that, I felt nothing but pride in his geekiness. He was willing to try almost anything, and he never let the fear of embarrassment rule his actions. As a friend said after his sudden death, 'We should all be a little more Steve.'"

See the full message below:

According to a post on the Department of Public Safety's website for Salt Lake City, Utah, the accident occurred around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 29.

"A catering company lost their load of canvas bags on to the freeway. Two cars stopped, or nearly stopped for the debris," the website states. "A green Ford F-250 came upon the stopped traffic and collided into a red Toyota Prius out of California. The Prius then struck a silver Chevy Malibu. Two occupants inside the Prius, [Steve and Violet], sustained fatal injuries and died on scene."

"Another adult male was taken by medical helicopter in critical condition. The driver of F-250 had minor injuries was arrested for DUI," the post continues. "The occupants of the Malibu were transported by ground in serious condition. Not much is known about those occupants at this time. The investigation is still ongoing."