NEW CITY, N.Y. – A man accused of standing by while his wife drove herself and their two daughters off a 300-foot cliff was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation in a plea deal.
"I deeply regret my conduct on that day," said Victor Han, 35. "I should have been more concerned and careful."
The children, 5-year-old Ariana and 3-year-old Itana, survived without major injury last June 14. Hejin Han, 35, died when she drove the family minivan off a scenic overlook on Bear Mountain north of New York City.
Victor Han pleaded guilty in March to child endangerment in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges of promoting suicide and reckless endangerment. Prosecutors have acknowledged that the suicide case would have been difficult to prove.
Han told police after his wife's death that she was sometimes suicidal, and he admitted in court that he knew she and the children were in danger when he stepped out of the van at the overlook. Just after he got out, his wife drove the van off the cliff.
"He acknowledged what we have said all along, knowing that his wife was in that state, he failed to safeguard his children," Assistant District Attorney Louis Valvo said after the sentencing.
"Victor admitted he made a serious, bad judgment call," his lawyer, Lawrence Goldman, said. "He knew she was depressed. He thought at one point she might be suicidal."
A Family Court judge has restricted Han to supervised visits with the girls, who are in the care of relatives.
"I hope for a chance to rebuild my relationship with my children and be a good father to them," Han said in court Wednesday, speaking publicly for the first time about the case.