Bridgerton author reveals father and sister killed in traffic accident

The pile-up happened in Utah on June 29.

A number of filming locations in England were used for the Netflix adaptations of Julia's books.
A number of filming locations in England were used for the Netflix adaptations of Julia's books.

Author of the Bridgerton book series, Julia Quinn, has revealed that her father and sister were killed in a traffic collision in Utah on June 29.

Their deaths were the result of a pile-up which occurred because of debris falling out of a catering vehicle on the road, with one of the drivers involved above the legal limit for alcohol.

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At a glance: 5 key points

-Julia Quinn authored the Bridgerton book series, which was adapted into a smash-hit Netflix series last year.

-Julia announced the deaths of her father and sister in an emotional Facebook post published on July 8.

-The Utah Highway patrol confirmed to local news outlets that Stephen Lewis Cotler, 77 and Ariana Elise Cotler, known as Violet Charles, 37 were killed in a pile-up on June 29.

-They said that a load of canvas bags spilled from a catering company’s vehicle onto the road, causing cars to stop. However, a driver, later found to be over the limit, crashed into the stopped traffic, creating a pile-up of cars and causing the deaths of Stephen and Ariana.

-Local media reported a man had been charged with criminal homicide and driving under the influence.

What’s been said

“I have lost my father and my sister,” Julia said in a post on Facebook, “because a catering company did not secure their load and canvas bags spilled onto the highway.”

She continued: “Because a pickup driver thought nothing of driving while his blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit ... I have lost my father, and I don’t have my sister with whom to grieve.”

She expressed grief that she’d just finished writing a graphic novel with her sister which was dedicated to their father. She wrote:

“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.”


Julia is best known for writing the Bridgerton book series which was adapted into a hit Netflix series last year.

The incident also injured others, with two hospitalised and Julia’s father’s service dog also killed in the accident.