Ludwick Expected to Take Plea Deal in Hansen Case

Sean Ludwick, charged with killing Paul Hansen while driving drunk, stands in court in Central Islip on January 26. Pool photo by EDWARD BETZ
Sean Ludwick, charged with killing Paul Hansen while driving drunk, stands in court in Central Islip on January 26. Pool photo by Edward Betz
Paul Hansen’s sister Susan Morissey, widow Catherine Hansen, brother Bob Hansen and sister Kathy Ruotolo talk with Assistant District Attorney Ray Varuolo Tuesday afternoon in Central Islip. Stephen J. Kotz photo

Sean Ludwick, 44, the Manhattan developer charged in the death of Paul Hansen, a 53-year-old Sag Harbor real estate agent and builder, who was killed in an August 2015 car accident, is expected to plead guilty to charges of aggravated vehicular homicide on Tuesday, August 15.

The agreement is part of a deal reached between Mr. Ludwick’s attorneys and Suffolk County Justice Fernando Camacho on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, assistant District Attorney Ray Varuolo said Mr. Ludwick was expected to plead guilty “to the top count” on a 13-count indictment, felony aggravated vehicular homicide, and would face a significant prison sentence.

“He is going upstate,” Mr. Varuolo said. “He is going to be there awhile.”

Mr. Ludwick’s attorneys, William Keahon, Jonathan Manley, and Daniel Ollen, and Mr. Varuolo met for 20 minutes in Judge Camacho’s chambers late Tuesday morning. After the meeting, while Mr. Varuolo met with Mr. Hansen’s family members, Mr. Keahon told reporters a plea deal had been reached, but declined to offer any details.

Robert Hansen, Paul Hansen’s brother who has served as family spokesman, said it was his understanding that Mr. Ludwick still had to sign off on the agreement, although there is no indication he would refuse to do so.

Mr. Hansen said the family was relieved that nearly two years after the crash that claimed their brother’s life, there was finally some movement in the case.

“Obviously, there’s no way that we’ll get Paul back,” Mr. Hansen said, adding family members expected to hear Mr. Ludwick own up to what he did when he returns to court on Tuesday. “We expect him to tell us what happened on that night, and we expect to understand what the circumstances were,” he said. “I think the judge and the district attorney are also expecting him to come forth with that information.”

Mr. Hansen said Mr. Ludwick’s attorneys had made an offer to settle a wrongful death suit brought by the family on behalf of Paul Hansen’s widow, Catherine, and his sons, Hunter and Austin, and family members hoped that case could be resolved soon as well.

“If that can be all tied up, I think the family will be satisfied that justice has been served here,” he said.

The Porsche belonging to Sean P. Ludwick on the morning after the accident. Gavin Menu photo

Prosecutors say that on August 30, 2015, after a night of drinking, Mr. Ludwick was driving Mr. Hansen to his home in Noyac when his convertible Porsche 911 slammed into a telephone pole on Rolling Hills Court East, just down the street from Mr. Hansen’s home, where his sons and Mr. Ludwick’s boys were having a sleepover.

Prosecutors charge that Mr. Ludwick dragged Mr. Hansen from the vehicle and left him in the road, driving off in his car, which was badly damaged in the crash. Police, following a trail of fluid and scrap marks in the pavement left by the vehicle’s tire rims, caught up with Mr. Ludwick a few blocks away after his car stalled. They charged him with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident. Prosecutors later said some of Mr. Hansen’s belongings were found in the woods next to the road, where they said Mr. Ludwick had thrown them in an effort to cover his tracks.

In December of that year, Mr. Ludwick was indicted on 13 charges, including aggravated vehicular homicide and five other felonies. He has been held in Suffolk County Jail in Yaphank since January 2016 after Judge Camacho revoked his $1 million bail after prosecutors told the court he was plotting to flee the country. They said while on vacation in Puerto Rico, he had arranged to purchase an ocean-going sailboat. Prosecutors said a search of his computer and telephone yielded a slew of web searches related to avoiding prosecution.