It's always shocking when someone in the sports world is involved in a sordid tragedy. Kids look up to sports figures, and most of the time these athletes have a pretty big fan base, so it's even more upsetting when things involve domestic violence. Not to mention that it is really, really sad.

Police responded over the weekend to a call in the Five Points neighborhood of Athens, Georgia, and found two people wounded. The two were identified as 30 year old Laura Townley, and her ex husband, former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley, 32. Laura Townley was taken to the hospital in critical condition, and John Wes Townley was pronounced dead at the hospital from a gunshot wound.

Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

According to the Athens-Clarke County police, via USA Today, a 32 year old man named Zachary Anderson was at the home with Laura Townley when John Wes Townley arrived at the residence with a hatchet. The Townleys had been recently divorced.  The police report said "Townley "attacked Mr. Anderson and Ms. Townley with a hatchet, and Mr. Anderson fired several shots from his gun." One of the shots hit the former NASCAR driver, and one accidentally hit his ex wife. Laura Towley is expected to survive. This was not Townley's first brush with domestic violence. According to court documents, in 2019, Townley was charged with three misdemeanor counts, including family violence battery, after he reportedly threw his wife to the floor, causing her to have reasonable fear for her life. Townley pled guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to 12 months probation.



Townley was a native of Watkinsville, Georgia and was the son of Tony Townley, co founder of the Athens, Georgia based restaurant chain Zaxby's. According to his bio on MSN "Jon Wes Townley raced eight seasons and 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 Sunday was the only national series win of his career." He drove the series in his Zaxby's sponsored car.


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