Police say NASCAR driver killed in double shooting came to ex-wife’s house with a hatchet

ATHENS, Ga. — Police say a former NASCAR driver was shot and killed after allegedly attacking his ex-wife and a man with a hatchet in her Athens home Saturday night.

According to a report, the divorce of John Wes Townley and his former wife Laura Townley was recently finalized.

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Police say when Townley arrived at the home on Morton Avenue Saturday night while armed with a hatchet, he got into an altercation with Zachery Anderson, a man from Dunwoody.

“During the course of that altercation, Mr. Anderson discharged his firearm several times, striking Mr. Townley and Ms. Townley.” said Athens-Clarke County Police Lt. Shaun Barnett.

John Townley later died at a hospital. Laura Townley was seriously hurt, but is expected to survive.


Police say the shooting of Laura Townley was accidental.

A UGA student who lives next door to the home where the shooting took place says it’s a tragic situation.

“It was a very confusing and scary situation. And also very tragic for the family.” Said Brooke Avino.

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John Townley raced on the NASCAR circuit for nearly ten years. His race car was sponsored by Zaxby’s Restaurants which his father co-founded in Athens.

Police have not filed charges against Anderson, and say their investigation is ongoing.