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Sean Ludwick pleads guilty in DWI crash that killed friend

Sean Ludwick, 44, a Manhattan real estate developer,

Sean Ludwick, 44, a Manhattan real estate developer, appears in State Supreme Court in Central Islip on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. He pleaded guilty in the 2015 DWI crash that killed Paul Hansen, 53, a Sag Harbor real estate broker. Credit: T.E. McMorrow

A Manhattan real estate developer pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated vehicular homicide and other crimes, admitting that he was driving drunk in Sag Harbor in the summer of 2015 when he crashed his Porsche into a utility pole, killing a friend who was a passenger in his car.

Sean Ludwick, 44, a managing partner and founder of Blackhouse Development, is expected to serve 3 to 9 years in prison for killing Paul Hansen, 53, a Sag Harbor real estate broker.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 18.

Moments before he pleaded guilty, Ludwick turned and apologized to the Hansen family, including Hansen’s widow and two young sons, who attended the brief court proceeding before state Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho in Central Islip.

“I’d just like to say I am very sorry,” Ludwick said.

In an interview afterward, Hansen’s brother, Robert Hansen, 62, of Southampton, said the family is grateful that Ludwick apologized for the harm he caused.

“Whether it’s his true feelings or it’s not his true feelings, I can’t tell you. You’ll have to ask him,” Robert Hansen said. “But I think the family appreciates him addressing us.”

Ludwick also pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an incident without reporting and aggravated driving while intoxicated. The sentences — 1 to 3 years, and 1 year, respectively — will run concurrently to the 3- to 9-year sentence he received for aggravated vehicular homicide.

In exchange for his guilty plea, Camacho dropped the remaining 10 charges against Ludwick. Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Ray Varuolo had recommended a sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison.

Scott Middleton, an attorney who represents the Hansen family in a pending lawsuit against Ludwick, said the family trusts Camacho and the justice system to “do the right thing.” They declined to say whether the 3- to 9-year sentence was fair.

On Aug. 30, 2015, Ludwick and Hansen had been out drinking before the crash, Suffolk prosecutors had said. At about 2 a.m., Ludwick was driving Hansen home when Ludwick’s 2013 Porsche slammed into a utility pole on Rolling Hill Court East, not far from Hansen’s house. Instead of calling for help, prosecutors said Ludwick dragged Hansen out of the convertible, left him on the side of the road and drove a quarter-mile in his badly damaged car, which was missing two of its wheels.

Police found the Porsche and Ludwick some distance away on Woodvale Street.

Ludwick’s blood-alcohol level — tested five hours after the deadly collision — was 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, Varuolo said.

Ludwick had been free on bail until January 2016, when a hotel worker in Puerto Rico alerted Camacho that Ludwick was there taking sailing lessons and negotiating to pay almost $400,000 for a boat large enough to take him to Venezuela. Camacho then revoked Ludwick’s bail of $1 million.

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