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Cops: Ex-NASCAR Driver Shot Dead After Attacking Wife

John Townley attacked Laura Townley, another man with hatchet, police say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2021 6:15 PM CDT
Cops: Ex-NASCAR Driver Shot Dead After Attacking Wife
In this July 4, 2014 photo, John Wes Townley stands on pit road before a NASCAR Nationwide series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)

(Newser) – Former NASCAR driver John Townley was shot dead in Georgia on Saturday night—but no charges have been filed against the alleged shooter. Police say the 31-year-old turned up at a home in Athens and attacked ex-wife Laura Townley and another man with a hatchet, NBC reports. The other man, 32-year-old Zachary Anderson, "fired several shots from his gun which struck Mr. Townley and accidentally struck Ms. Townley," police said in an incident report. Laura Townley, 30, whose divorce from the former driver was finalized last week, was seriously injured but is expected to survive, reports the AP.

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Police say the relationship between Laura Townley and Anderson is unclear. Investigators are trying to determine whether Townley arrived at the house with the hatchet or got it there, says police spokesman Lt. Shaun Barnett. Townley competed mainly in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series between 2012 and 2016, per NASCAR.com. His only series win came in the Truck Series in Las Vegas in 2015. Townley—who drove a car owned by father Tony Townley, co-founder of Zaxby's fast-food chain—retired before the start of the 2017 season. (Read more NASCAR stories.)

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