Julia Quinn, who wrote the eight-novel series upon which the Netflix hit Bridgerton is based, took to Facebook to pay tribute to her sister and father recently, replying to the original post, which memorialized Steve Cotler, who wrote the Cheesie Mack book series for middle grade readers. Here's what Quinn had to say:
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 3 times the legal limit.
I have lost my father, and I don't have my sister with whom to grieve.
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.
According to the original Facebook post on the accident, which was posted by Steve Cotler's surviving children, a drunk driver was found to have caused the crash that took his life, and that of his youngest daughter, Violet Charles. Her service dog, Michelle, also died in the crash.
Along with being an author and educator, Cotler was also a singer and songwriter who appeared on The Gong Show in the late 1970s. Violet Charles has illustrated several comic strips, including Violets Aren't Blue and Denise the Self Esteem Pig, and worked on the upcoming graphic novel Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron, written by Julia Quinn, which is set for release in January 2022.
A news report from Gephardt Daily notes that the crash occurred in Davis County, Utah in a multi-vehicle crash on southbound Interstate 15 at about 8:30 p.m. The Utah Highway Patrol released a statement, saying that a catering company truck lost its load of canvas bags, which littered the interstate, and that caused two cars to stop, or nearly do so, because of the debris. When a Ford F-250 came upon the stopped traffic, the driver failed to stop, and collided with the Toyota Prius which held Cotler and Charles, who then struck another car. Cotler, 77, and Charles, 37, both died at the scene.
The person driving the Ford F-250 only had minor injuries, and was arrested for a DUI, after being found to have a blood alcohol level that was almost three times the legal limit.
Our thoughts go out to Julia Quinn and her family at this difficult time.