John Wes Townley Nascar driver shot dead during domestic violence altercation. Man’s estranged wife, Laura Townley suffers gunshot wound. Couple were amid divorce proceedings.
A former NASCAR driver was killed and a woman injured in a domestic violence related shooting in Athens, Georgia over the weekend according to reports.
John Wes Townley, 31, who retired from racing professionally in 2017, was mortally wounded, with the man’s 30 year old estranged wife hospitalized with serious injuries the Athens Banner-Herald reported.
The blood letting came after after the former professional race driver went to a house with an axe before being shot dead by an unidentified man.
The house was occupied by Townley’s estranged wife, Laura Townley, and a 32-year-old Dunwoody man the Classic City News reported.
The NASCAR driver was shot just before 9pm, Saturday night in the 200 block of Morton Avenue in the Five Points area of Athens.
‘Marriage was irretrievably broken’
Laura sustained gun injuries after accidentally being hit by gunfire as the 32 year old man shot at Townley after being approached with an axe.
The ex-race driver, who is the son of the millionaire co-founder of fried chicken chain Zaxby’s, was rushed to hospital and later died of his injuries.
Laura Townley remains in a ‘serious’ condition.
Court records state that the Townleys, who were married in October 2018, filed for divorce on February 3 of this year.
The pair were living apart and their ‘marriage was irretrievably broken,’ Classic City News reported.
Laura had been living at the Morton Avenue address when the petition for divorce was filed.
The divorce was still pending at the time of Townley’s death.
Un-identified shooter has not been charged
It is not believed that the couple had any children together.
It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the breakdown of the marriage.
Offered, Athens-Clarke County police spokesman Lt. Shaun Barnett: ‘We are not ruling out that this was potentially a self-defense case related to a domestic violence type incident. However, the investigation is still ongoing’.
The un-identified shooter, who was known to Townley, has not been charged and has spoken to police, Barnett said.
The investigation was ongoing but early indications were that it was a ‘domestic incident.’
Born in Watkinsville, Townley is the son of Tony Townley, whose fast food chain Zaxby’s owned and sponsored the cars he competed in.
Pair met through dating app
He married nurse Laura Townley from Florence, South Carolina, after the pair met through dating app ‘Match’ in 2016.
Townley started driving professionally in 2008 and recorded 186 starts across the Xfinity and Truck Series, NASCAR’s lower two national divisions.
His victory in the Truck Series at Las Vegas six years ago Sunday was the only national series win of his career.
Townley’s car was sponsored by his father’s fast-food chain Zaxby’s.
Opened in 1990, the chain has more than 900 restaurants across 17 states and Tony Townley’s net worth is reported to be around $10 million.