Ludwick Admits to Driving Drunk in Fatal Noyac Crash

Sean Ludwick was led into court in Central Islip, where he took a plea deal on Tuesday. T.E. McMorrow

Sean P. Ludwick pleaded guilty on Tuesday to aggravated vehicular homicide, a felony, in the death of his passenger, Paul Hansen, in a car crash in Noyac in August 2015.

Appearing in the Central Islip courtroom of New York State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho, Mr. Ludwick, 44, also pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a fatal accident, also a felony, and aggravated drunken driving, a misdemeanor. He has been in custody since late 2015 after allegedly trying to flee the country.

Before entering those guilty pleas, Mr. Ludwick addressed Mr. Hansen's family, who packed the gallery in the small courtroom. "I just want to say I am very sorry. I feel awful for the circumstances," Mr. Ludwick said. "I humbly apologize to you, especially to Hunter and Austin," he added, referring to Mr. Hansen's two sons. Mr. Hansen was 53 at the time of his death and his sons were 14 and 11.

Following his apology, Mr. Ludwick faced the bench again. Justice Camacho explained that he had agreed to sentence Mr. Ludwick to three to nine years in state prison and that, in return, Mr. Ludwick was waiving any right to appeal. Raymond Varuolo, the prosecuting attorney, told the court that the people had requested a sentence of 5 to 15 years. The sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 18.

Mr. Ludwick was then required to answer a series of questions from Justice Camacho about the details leading up to and following Mr. Hansen's death. He admitted that he had been driving his 2013 Porsche convertible on Rolling Hills Court East at about 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2015, and that he was intoxicated. (A reading obtained five hours after his arrest, showed his blood alcohol content at .18.)

The two men were acquaintances, with their primary contact until that night being through their sons, who were friends, Mr. Hansen's family has said previously. Mr. Ludwick's son was sleeping over at Mr. Hansen's house that night. The two men apparently stopped at a couple of bars in Southampton during the course of the night. Drunk and driving in the dark down the cul de sac where Mr. Hansen's family lived, Mr. Ludwick passed Mr. Hansen's driveway a couple of times before crashing into a utility pole at high speed. The accident was yards away from Mr. Hansen's driveway.

Mr. Ludwick admitted that he drove away, leaving Mr. Hansen at the side of the road. Police have said previously that the car's tires were flat and that it was leaking fluids; it made it only about a quarter of a mile down the road. Police reported at the time that they found Mr. Ludwick standing by the side of the car.

Mr. Ludwick admitted all this in court on Tuesday. When Justice Camacho concluded, he asked if Mr. Ludwick had any questions. "Not at this moment," Mr. Ludwick answered.

"Well, this is the moment," Justice Camacho said, telling Mr. Ludwick that after he entered the guilty plea, there would be no turning back.

"It is completely clear. Thank you," Mr. Ludwick said. He was soon led away.

Now that the criminal process is concluded, the wrongful death suit launched against Mr. Ludwick by Katherine Hansen, his widow, can proceed, the Hansen family's lawyer, Scott Middleton, said outside the courtroom.

Robert Hansen, Paul Hansen's brother, has attended every court session over the past two years. When reporters asked him if he thought Mr. Ludwick's apology was heartfelt, Robert Hansen said, "I think we appreciated his words, is how I would say that, I think we just appreciated that he recognized that. Whether it was his true feelings or not his true feelings, I can't really tell you. You will have to ask him yourself."