NEW CITY, N.Y. – A man accused of helping his wife commit suicide by allowing her to drive the family minivan off a 300-foot cliff with their children inside pleaded guilty Wednesday to child endangerment in a deal that will likely spare him any prison time.
Victor Han, 35, admitted in Rockland County Court that he knew his wife was putting herself and their children in danger when he stepped out of the vehicle last June at a scenic overlook at Bear Mountain.
His 35-year-old wife, Hejin Han, drove the minivan off the cliff, killing herself. The children, 5-year-old Ariana and 3-year-old Itana, were belted into car seats and survived without major injury.
State Supreme Court Justice William Kelly said the prosecution was recommending three years probation. The maximum sentence for an endangerment charge is 28 months to seven years in prison. Sentencing was set for June 6.
Han, who remains free on $40,000 bail, walked out of court without commenting.
"He did this to get the case over, and not to force the family to go through the trauma [of a trial]," defense attorney Lawrence Goldman said of his client's guilty plea.
Han, an architect living in New York City, is seeking full custody of the children and is currently seeing them at supervised visits, prosecutor Louis Valvo said.
In a statement to police, Han acknowledged that he had worried his wife was suicidal but said he got out of the minivan only to take pictures.
He said that when the vehicle went over the edge, passing between two boulders placed to keep cars from skidding off the road, he called 911, ran down the cliff and rescued his daughters but could not revive his wife.
In exchange for Han's guilty plea, additional charges of promoting a suicide and endangering children were dropped.