The Tragic Deaths Of Bridgerton Author Julia Quinn's Sister And Father

Chances are you've already devoured "Bridgerton," the Shonda Rhimes and Netflix collaboration that a phenomenon as soon as it premiered in April. The series follows the Bridgertons, an upper-class family in Regency-era London, as they navigate the ups and downs of high society life. Naturally, fans couldn't get enough of the steamy love scenes, classical covers of Taylor Swift songs, and wildly good-looking cast.

Julia Quinn, the series' author, couldn't have been happier to hand the story over to Rhimes. "I wanted to be the easiest, happiest, team-player author you could imagine," she said in a Shondaland interview. "And yea, I probably wouldn't have been so willing like that if it were someone else, I might've been more nervous, but I just trusted her implicitly."

Quinn went on to describe how thrilled she was to see her vision come to life. Sadly, what should have been one of the happiest years of her life was interrupted by the abrupt death of her father and sister. Here's what we know about the tragedy.

Julia Quinn had something special planned for her father

In July, "Bridgerton" author Julia Quinn took to Facebook to inform her fans that both her father and sister had tragically died on June 29. "I have lost my father and my sister. Because a catering company did not secure their load and canvas bags spilled onto the highway," she alleged in the July 7 post. "Because a pickup driver thought nothing of driving while his blood alcohol level was nearly 3 times the legal limit," she continued. "I have lost my father, and I don't have my sister with whom to grieve."

According to reports, Quinn's father, Stephen Cotler, and her sister Ariana Cotler were driving on a highway in Utah on the night of June 29 when canvas bags fell from the back of a catering truck, causing several cars to stop. At that point, a drunk driver crashed into the stalled traffic. Ariana and Stephen, along with Ariana's dog, all died at the scene, Utah's Gephardt Daily reported. Three other people from different vehicles were taken to the hospital in critical condition. The drunk driver suffered minor injuries.

In her Facebook post, Quinn explained that she and her sister — a cartoonist — had recently finished writing a graphic novel together. "It was dedicated to our 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."