Hansen Family Confronts Ludwick at Sentencing in Fatal Crash

Several members of the late Paul Hansen's family gathered outside the Central Islip courtroom where Sean P. Ludwick was sentenced yesterday on vehicular homicide charges in Mr. Hansen's 2015 death. T.E. McMorrow

Sean P. Ludwick, 45, was sentenced Wednesday to three to nine years in state prison after pleading guilty in August to aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of Paul Hansen of Noyac in August 2015.

Before New York Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho pronounced sentence on Wednesday, he heard from Mr. Hansen's brother, Robert Hansen, wife, Catherine Hansen, and twin sister, Susan Hansen Morrisey.

"How many lives have you affected with your cowardly, selfish behavior?" Robert Hansen asked Mr. Ludwick from the jury box, where many family members were seated in the overflowing courtroom.

Paul Hansen was 53 years old when, after a night of drinking, he was getting a ride home with Mr. Ludwick. Mr. Ludwick was speeding down the cul de sac where Mr. Hansen lived, police said, and lost control of the 2013 Porsche he was driving, crashing into a utility pole about 100 feet from his passenger's house. Mr. Ludwick then tried to escape, leaving Mr. Hansen's body on the side of the road. The wrecked car made it only a couple of hundred yards.

"You are a coward. You don't have a compassionate bone in your body," Ms. Hansen said to Mr. Ludwick, who stood handcuffed, wearing a dark suit. "You showed no concern for anybody but yourself," Ms. Hansen continued, holding back tears as she spoke. She reminded Mr. Ludwick that, contrary to media reports, the two men had known each other for less than two days before the accident.

Mr. Ludwick's son, a friend of Mr. Hansen's sons, was sleeping over at the house the morning of the accident. "Even your own son was of no concern to you," Ms. Hansen said, adding that it was members of the Hansen family who shielded Mr. Ludwick's son "and kept him from the ugliness of that morning."

Besides pleading guilty to the homicide charge, Mr. Ludwick also pleaded guilty in August to leaving the scene of a fatal accident, a felony, and aggravated drunken driving as a misdemeanor.

Blood was drawn from Mr. Ludwick four hours after his arrest, under a court issued warrant. The result of that test was a reading of .18 of 1 percent, well over the .08 reading that defines intoxication and high enough to trigger both the vehicular homicide charge and well as the aggravated drunken driving charge. He will serve the sentences for the other two crimes, a one-to-three-year-sentence for the felony, and a year sentence for the misdemeanor, concurrently with the sentence on the top charge.

The two men both worked in real estate, though at different levels. Mr. Hansen was a real estate sales person in Sag Harbor for Douglas Elliman, as well as being a contractor. Mr. Ludwick was a Manhattan real estate developer who founded BlackHouse Development. Mr. Hansen's family owned the house on Rolling Hills Court East in Noyac, while Mr. Ludwick owns a house in Bridgehampton and an apartment on Sutton Place in Manhattan. The nexus between the two men was Mr. Ludwick's son's friendship with Mr. Hansen's sons.

Just before Justice Camacho rendered his sentence, Mr. Ludwick spoke. "I do take responsibility for this." Mr. Ludwick said. "I offer you my humblest apologies."

"I hope you mean it. I truly, truly hope you mean it," Justice Camacho said. He looked at Mr. Hansen's two sons, Austin and Hunter Hansen, also seated in the jury box. "Boys. Your father was a great man."

Mr. Ludwick had a history of erratic behavior before the accident. He was arrested at one point by New York Police Department officers in early 2014, accused of breaking into an ex-girlfriend's Tribeca apartment, then using paint to draw obscene graffiti. In March 2015, he was arrested in Martha's Vineyard after a domestic dispute with a girlfriend in a hotel room.

Ray Varuelo, the prosecuting attorney, told the court before sentencing that Mr. Ludwick had dragged Mr. Hansen's body from the wrecked car. He said that Mr. Hansen's blood alcohol percentage was .25 at time of death, and that Mr. Ludwick's was at least that high at the time of the accident.

One question only Mr. Ludwick can answer is whether Mr. Hansen was alive when Mr. Ludwick attempted to drive off. Statements made to police after his arrest seem to indicate that he believed Mr. Hansen may have been alive.

He has had several lawyers since his arrest. His initial attorney was Daniel J. Ollen. He then retained Benjamin Brafman, a noted New York attorney whose client list reads like a celebrity who's who. That relationship ended after Mr. Ludwick allegedly tried to flee the country in early 2016, shortly after being indicted. He had been out after posting a $1 million bond, and had gone to Puerto Rico, where he took sailing lessons, while scouring the internet for countries that do not have extradition treaties with the United States. He then retained William Keahon, who stood by his side when he pleaded guilty in August, though it was Mr. Ollen at his side for sentencing, with Mr. Keahon seated at the defense table.

Mr. Ludwick will be held in county jail in Yaphank until an upstate facility is designated for him to serve his time in.

He will be eligible to go before the parole board when he completes the first three years of his sentence. However, the impact statements the family made in court, as well as the numerous letters to the court, and the nature of the crimes committed, will all follow Mr. Ludwick any time he applies for parole.

Catherine Hansen is suing Mr. Ludwick on behalf of Mr. Hansen's estate, charging him with the wrongful death of her husband. Mr. Ludwick is scheduled to be deposed tomorrow in jail by Ms. Hansen's lawyer, Scott D. Middleton of Campolo, Middleton & Associates. When he pleaded guilty in August, he was required to admit to committing the crimes he was pleading guilty to, and that statement to Justice Camacho is already part of the court file in the civil action. That action is to be considered in the courtroom of New York Supreme Court Justice William B. Rebolini in Riverside.

"I do take responsibility for this," Sean Ludwick told a judge at his sentencing Wednesday.James Carbone