Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley allegedly attacked his ex-wife and another man with a hatchet before being fatally shot over the weekend, Athens-Clarke County police said. The Daily Mail reports that Townley pleaded guilty to domestic abuse two years ago. He was sentenced to probation after an incident in which he threw his then-wife, Laura, to the floor, leaving her “in reasonable fear of the safety of her life,” according to court documents.
Townley competed in dozens of NASCAR national touring races between 2008 and 2016 before his retirement. Officers who responded to the Saturday night call found Laura Townley, 30, with a gunshot wound to the abdomen, and the ex-racer with a gunshot wound to the chest. The Townleys’ divorce had been finalized that week. He was rushed to the hospital and later died of his injuries. No charges have yet been filed against the man who shot him, Zachary Anderson. The police have not ruled out self-defense; a spokesperson said that that was likely “to be the case.” Laura Townley is expected to survive her injuries.