John Wes Townley answers media questions after his win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2015. Photo by Grace Krenrich/Catchfence

Police Confirm John Wes Townley Killed After Confronting Ex-wife And Another Man With A ‘Hatchet’

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By Jerry Jordan, Editor

Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley died Saturday night as the result of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to a spokesperson for the Athens-Clarke Police Department.

Based on new information from police, Townley (31) and his former wife, Laura Townley (30), saw their divorce finalized this past week. Townley went to 240 Morton Avenue in Athens, Ga. and confronted his ex-wife and Zachary Anderson (32) – who were both inside the residence – with a “hatchet.”

“Around 20:50 on October 2, 2021, officers responded to a shooting (that) just occurred at 240 Morton Ave, Athens, GA 30601 in Clarke County,” states a police narrative report obtained by Kickin’ the Tires. “Officers received a call in regards to a female with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Upon arrival on (the) scene, the female was located in the house along with another male who had been shot through the chest.”

Officers stated they identified the female as Laura Townley and the male a John Wes Townley. Both were transported to a local hospital via EMA and John Wes was pronounced deceased after arrival. The officers stated in the report that Anderson fired several shots and one of the shots “accidentally struck Ms. Townley.” She is expected to recover, according to sources.

John Wes Townley is a former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver and a former NASCAR Xfinity Series driver. He is the son of the co-founder of Zaxby’s Chicken and raced with the family business adorning his vehicles. Townley has 76 starts in the Xfinity Series and 110 starts in the Camping World Truck Series, where he had his only NASCAR-sanctioned victory. That win came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2015.

Police confirmed the investigation into the shooting in ongoing but no charges have been filed against Anderson and he was not taken into custody. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Black at (762) 400-7058 or via email at [email protected].

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