A heartbroken Julia Quinn is opening up about the unfortunate deaths of her father and sister in a car crash in Utah last month.
Quinn, whose bestselling book series "Bridgerton" was adapted into a hit Netflix show, revealed on Wednesday that her father Steve Cotler, 77, and sister Ariana Cotler, 37, were killed by a drunk driver on June 29. Ariana's service dog Michelle also lost its life in the crash.
Quinn wrote in a Facebook post, "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," the 51-year-old added.
According to Utah Highway Patrol, Quinn's father was driving a Toyota Prius when he stopped on a Utah freeway after seeing that a catering company had lost its load of canvas bags on the road. Soon after, a Ford F-250 being driven by an inebriated person drove into stopped traffic and collided into the Prius, triggering a multi-car crash.
Steve and his daughter Ariana, better known as Violet Charles, were pronounced dead on the spot. Their car had also hit a Chevy Malibu after its collision with the drunk driver. The man in the Chevy was airlifted to a hospital in "critical condition." The culprit, meanwhile, survived the collision with "minor injuries" and was subsequently arrested for DUI.
Quinn said about the tragic loss, "I have lost my father, and I don't have my sister with whom to grieve." Her sister Ariana was a cartoonist working on illustrating the novel "Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron," according to her Facebook page, Violet Charles Comics.
Quinn revealed that she and Ariana had recently finished writing a graphic novel, that they had dedicated to their 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 heartbroken romance novelist added.
Quinn shared her knack for writing with her father, who was best known for writing the "Cheesie Mack" book series for middle school readers. The author said in a tribute to her late father, "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.' "