Attorney: Woman was driving when gun went off, killing Atlanta businesswoman

Diane McIver (Source: U.S. Enterprises, Inc.)

CBS46 has confirmed that the person who drove the vehicle the night Diane McIver was killed is a woman who goes by the name Dani Jo.

That's according to Tex McIver's criminal defense attorney, Stephen Maples, who spoke with CBS46 reporters Karyn Greer and Natalie Rubino by phone Tuesday.

According to police, Diane McIver was shot while sitting in the passenger seat of her Ford Expedition the evening of Sept. 25. Her husband, attorney Tex McIver, was sitting directly behind her in the backseat.

Maples said Diane McIver's best friend of thirty years, whom he only identified as Dani Jo, was driving. The three were on their way back to Atlanta's Buckhead community from the McIver's farm in Putnam County.

Maples says the couple keeps a revolver in the car's center console, wrapped in a bag. He didn't say why Diane handed her husband the gun, but he did say it went off while still inside the bag.

Maples said both Dani Jo and Tex McIver have participated in taped interviews with investigators.

According to Maples, some of the previously reported details about the incident are inaccurate.

Last week, a family spokesman said when the SUV drove near a homeless shelter at the intersection of Peachtree and Pine streets in downtown Atlanta, Tex McIver got nervous, and his wife handed him the gun. Maples, however, said the car was never near that intersection.

Earlier this week, the spokesperson changed his story and said McIver was afraid of getting carjacked because of Black Lives Matter protests that had happened in the area recently.

The spokesman later said as the SUV continued into Midtown, Tex McIver was drifting asleep when the car hit a bump on Piedmont Avenue, causing the gun to go off.

When CBS46 asked Maples about the spokesman's account, he said, "It's not accurate in a specific sense."

When asked to elaborate, Maples said he couldn't talk any longer.

Other than a brief incident report, Atlanta police won't release much information about the case. Detectives are investigating Diane McIver's death as a homicide, police said.

Tex is a well known attorney for the Fisher Phillips law firm.

CBS46 law enforcement analyst Vincent Hill said if it weren't for Tex McIver's image as a wealthy, well-known attorney, he might have already been arrested.

"We have to look at who's involved here: a high-profile attorney with some very high profile friends. There's probably some level of protection they want for those other individuals in the car," Hill said.

Key information was missing from a police report, including the name of the woman driving the car.

Police said that's because after Diane McIver was shot, she was driven to Emory Hospital in DeKalb County where she died. Officers responded to the hospital -- not to the location where she was shot. A spokesman for the police department would not say whether the driver was questioned at the hospital.

Coworkers, friends saddened by death

McIver, 63, was president of U.S. Enterprise Inc. She spent 43 years with the company.

“She was a very successful and a dynamic corporate executive who was respected and loved by everyone's life she touched,” said Ken Rickert a co-worker at U.S. Enterprises.

“We are all sad. We are trying to cope as best we can and carry on. She would want us to do that,” Rickert added.

Four years ago, McIver and a branch of the company -- Corey Airport Services -- sued the city of Atlanta and Mayor Kasim Reed, alleging bid-rigging for advertising at the airport. The city agreed to pay nearly $4 million.

The Putnam County Sheriff told a local paper when a “Blue Lives Matter” billboard went up last year, it was thanks to the McIvers. He said the couple did a great deal for the county.

CBS46 has also learned Tex McIver is on the American Bar Association's committee on gun violence.

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Anchor/Community Liaison

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