Firefighters involved in I-65 fatal accident were mother, son


by Amy Stallings and Michaela MacDonald

Posted on August 6, 2014 at 7:34 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 8 at 5:25 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Glendale volunteer firefighter was killed and another was injured while responding to a van fire on Interstate 65 south Wednesday morning.

The accident happened around 3:30 a.m. near the Glendale exit.

Police said the Glendale Volunteer Fire Department was working a van fire at mile marker 87 when 25-year-old Jonathan French and his mother, 43-year-old Lisa French, were hit by a semi. Jonathan was killed; Lisa was seriously injured and flown to University of Louisville Hospital. Lisa French is currently listed in fair condition.

The two firefighters have volunteered at the department for years - Lisa for seven years and Jonathan for five - and both are related to the Glendale Fire Chief Richard Peters.

Peters said it's a loss for his department and for his family. Jonathan was his nephew and Lisa is his sister.

"We grew up in it, my dad and mom, Jonathan's grandparents, were both in the fire service for several years. I grew up in it and his mom and dad actually met in the fire service, so it's just something that gets in the family line, family blood, generation after generation wants to come along into," Peters said.

Jonathan was always among the first volunteers to respond to fires, he said.

"There will be a lot of memories and a lot of things everybody will pick up and carry on. Jonathan was a hard worker. If I had to be at work and had something that needed to be done I could call Jonathan and say go do it, and he would do it. He was proud of the trucks, proud to be part of this department. Nobody could wash a truck better than Jonathan," Peters said.

The organization "Supporting Heroes" is assisting the French family. The Glendale Fire Department will not be making runs for at least a few weeks, four other area fire departments have stepped in and will be taking calls.

KSP is still investigating the accident.

Police said it is too early to determine if charges will be filed against the semi driver, 44-year-old John Hatton of Covington.

The visitation for Jonathan French will be held at First Christian Church, located in Elizabethtown, Ky., on Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m. and on Monday from 9 a.m. to noon. The funeral will be held on Monday at noon.

The last line of duty death in Hardin County involved an Elizabethtown firefighter, who was electrocuted, on July 5, 1970.

Download the WHAS11 News App: iPhone or Android