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Father, sister of Seattle-based 'Bridgerton' author killed in crash

KOMO-TV Seattle logo KOMO-TV Seattle 7/8/2021 KOMO News Staff
a man and a woman posing for a photo © Provided by KOMO-TV Seattle

SEATTLE (KOMO) – The father and sister of Seattle-based "Bridgerton" writer Julia Quinn were killed in a multi-vehicle highway crash in Utah, the heartbroken author said.

Stephen Lewis Cotler, 77, and Violet Charles, 37, died in a crash last week on Interstate 15 that began when a catering company’s load of canvas bags spilled onto the road, sparking a chain-reaction pile-up involving a drunk driver, officials said.

“I have lost my father and my sister,” Quinn, whose real name is Julie Pottinger, said in a Facebook post Wednesday night. Quinn's "Bridgerton" book series was turned into a Netflix hit series last year.

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“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," Quinn wrote in the post.

The crash happened around 8:30 p.m. on June 29.

Officials said a catering company's vehicle lost its load, and two cars stopped on the freeway to avoid hitting the debris. One of those cars, a red Toyota Prius, was occupied by Cotler and Charles.

A green Ford pickup truck operated by a suspected drunk driver came upon the stopped traffic and crashed into the Prius. The Prius then hit a silver Chevy Malibu.

Cotler and Charles were pronounced dead at the scene.

A man in another car was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition and the occupants of the Malibu were taken to the hospital in serious condition. The pickup driver sustained minor injuries and was arrested for investigation of driving while intoxicated.

Cotler was the author of the "Cheesie Mack" series for middle-grade readers. Charles, whose real name is Ariana Elise Cotler, was a noted cartoonist.

Quinn resides in Seattle with her husband and two children.

The steamy period drama "Bridgerton" starred Rege-Jean Page, Phoebe Dynevor, Nicola Coughlan, Jonathan Bailey and others.


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