Former NASCAR driver shot dead after attacking ex-wife with an axe

Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley was shot dead over the weekend during a dispute that involved an axe, after showing up at a house occupied by his ex-wife and another man, police said on Tuesday.

Townley, 31, who raced for eight seasons, had the weapon at some point before he was fatally wounded by Zachary Anderson, 32, of Dunwoody, Georgia, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department reported in a statement.

Laura Townley, 30, was also accidentally shot and wounded.

John Wes Townley died after being taken to a hospital. The woman was seriously injured but is expected to survive.

The police incident report said Townley’s divorce was only “finalised this week”. The relationship between Laura Townley and Mr Anderson also wasn’t clear.

No charges were filed by the police immediately after the shooting as the investigation continued. Police were trying to determine whether Townley showed up at the house with the hatchet or got it there.

Townley made 186 starts across the NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series, NASCAR’s lower two national divisions. His victory in the Truck Series at Las Vegas six years ago was the only national series win of his career.

Townley drove a car owned by his father Tony Townley, who helped found the vehicle’s primary sponsor, the Zaxby’s restaurant chain.

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