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Former NASCAR Driver Fatally Shot After Attacking Ex With Hatchet

Athens, GA – Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley was fatally shot on Saturday night after he attacked his ex-wife and another man with a hatchet.

The incident occurred after Townley showed up at the residence where his ex-wife, 30-year-old Laura Townley, was with 32-year-old Zachary Anderson, NBC News reported.

Police said the Townleys’ divorce had been finalized last week.

The police report said that Townley attacked his ex-wife with a hatchet and was going after Anderson when Anderson opened fire on him, NBC News reported.

“Mr. Anderson fired several shots from his gun which struck Mr. Townley and accidentally struck Ms. Townley,” according to the police report.

When police responded to the residence in the Five Points neighborhood of Athens, they found both Townley and his former wife suffering from gunshot wounds, NBC News reported.

Both Townies were transported to the hospital.

John Wes Townley was pronounced dead at the hospital, NBC News reported.

Laura Townley was seriously injured but was expected to survive her wounds.

Police said they don’t know whether Townley had a hatchet with him when he arrived at the residence or if he found it there, according to NBC News.

Officials said that no charges have been filed against Anderson in connection with the shootings at this time, ESPN reported.

Polices said Anderson’s relationship with Laura Townley was unclear.

John Wes Townley raced for eight seasons on the NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series and made 186 starts in what is considered the lower two divisions of NASCAR.

His father is Tony Townley, a co-founder of Zaxby’s restaurants, which has 909 locations within 17 states.

Townley drove a car owned by his father, ESPN reported.

His only national series win of his career was a victory in the Truck Series at Las Vegas six year ago.

Written by
Tom Gantert

Tom Gantert graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Tom started in the newspaper business in 1983. He has worked at the Jackson Citizen Patriot (Michigan), Lansing State Journal (Michigan), Ann Arbor News (Michigan), Vineland Daily-Journal (Michigan), North Hills News Record (Pennsylvania) and USA Today (Virginia). He is also currently the managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential, a daily news site of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Tom is the father of a Michigan State Police trooper.

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Written by Tom Gantert

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