Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley was shot to death on Saturday, October 2, 2021 near the Five Points Arena in Athens, Georgia. The incident is reportedly part of a double homicide case that left a 30-year-old woman injured as well.
Both victims were immediately rushed to a local hospital, as per the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. Unfortunately, the ex-racer failed to survive the gunshot wounds and was declared dead while the woman remained in a critical condition.
According to Athens-Clarke County Police Department spokesman Lt. Shaun Barnett, the investigation is currently in its initial stages but officials are considering the homicide to be related to a domestic violence incident.
Authorities have allegedly suspected a 32-year-old Dunwoody man as the shooter but no official charges have been filed against him so far. Reports suggest that the man knew the victim.
John Wes Townley’s tragic demise has left his fans shocked as he was just 31-years-old at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, Laura Bird Townley.
Meet late John Wes Townley’s wife Laura Bird Townley
Laura Bird Townley is a professional nurse who hails from Florence, South Carolina and is currently based in Athens, Georgia. She came under the spotlight after she began dating the former NASCAR driver.
Laura was a student of The King’s Academy and later earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Augusta University. She is now a registered nurse at the Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.
Laura and John were married for three years until the former’s untimely death in the Georgia shooting. The duo reportedly met through a dating app and hit it off right after meeting at a local Mexican restaurant.
Speaking of her relationship with the racer, Laura once told The Sun:
“We both entered fake ZIP codes and, long story short, Match paired us up.”
The couple reportedly got engaged in 2016 and decided to tie the knot in 2018. The duo shared their vows in a private wedding ceremony in the presence of family and close friends. It is not known if the pair share any children together.
Everything to know about John Wes Townley
John Wes Townley was an American stock car racing driver. He was the son of Tony Townley, co-founder of the Zaxby’s chicken restaurant chain.
The Georgia native began his racing career with the American Speed Association before making his NASCAR debut in 2008, driving in three races for RAB Racing that year. He went on to compete for eight seasons but was plagued with on-track incidents for most of his career.
John Wes Townley made 76 starts in the Xfinity Series with a best finish at 13th position but achieved significant success in the Truck Series, with a best finish of eighth in the 2015 standings. That same year, he earned his first and only national series victory, winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
He also enjoyed two victories in the ARCA Menards Series at Daytona International Speedway. The 31-year-old had announced his retirement from motorsport in 2017.
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Investigations into the Georgia shooting continue to remain underway.