Ex-Nascar driver John Wes Townley killed in double shooting after 'attacking ex-wife and man with hatchet'

EX-Nascar driver John Wes Townley was killed after allegedly attacking his ex-wife and a man with a hatchet.

The 31-year-old was reportedly shot dead in a double shooting that occurred in the Athens Five Points area in Georgia on Saturday night.


Townley and a 30-year-old female had been shot and were transported to a local hospital, Athens-Clarke County coroner Sonny Wilson confirmed to the Athens Banner-Herald.

Police responded to a shooting in the 200 block of Morton Avenue in the Five Points neighborhood just before 9pm on Saturday.

Townley died of his injuries at the hospital and the woman's injuries are "serious," according to Athens-Clarke County police spokesman Shaun Barnett. The woman was identified by 11alive as his ex-wife.

Investigators told the outlet that Townley reportedly went to the home where the shooting took place and attacked his ex-wife and another man with a hatchet.

During the fight, the other man reportedly fired several shots which hit both Townley and Townley's ex-wife.

Police have had contact with the suspect, a 32-year-old man, but have not said whether any charges will be filed against them.

🔵 Read our John Wes Townley blog for the latest on his killing

Townley was one of the first young drivers in the late 2000s who advanced to the top levels of NASCAR powered by family funding.

His father is the co-founder of Zaxby’s restaurants and the chicken chain sponsored him through the entirety of his career.

That funding got Townley a full-season Xfinity Series ride at the age of 19 and he failed to finish seven of his 26 starts due to crashes.

That moment could have marked the end of a brief NASCAR tenure for Townley.

His best points finish in the Truck Series came in 2015 when he was eighth. He had eight top-10 finishes in 23 starts that season in addition to that win.

He moved on from driving in NASCAR after running in 18 Truck Series races and two Xfinity Series races in 2016.

Current NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace, who raced against Townley, tweeted: "Damn. Rest Easy JWT. Heartbreaking."

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or chat at thehotline.org.


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