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Sean Ludwick to plead guilty in DWI crash that killed friend

Sean Ludwick at First District Court in Central

Sean Ludwick at First District Court in Central Islip on Jan. 4, 2016. Credit: James Carbone

A Manhattan real estate developer will plead guilty next week to killing a friend while driving drunk, a Suffolk judge said Tuesday in Central Islip.

Sean Ludwick, 44, a managing partner and founder of Blackhouse Development, is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and numerous other crimes related to the Aug. 30, 2015, Sag Harbor crash that killed his passenger, Paul Hansen, 53, a Sag Harbor real estate broker.

Prosecutors have said Ludwick’s blood-alcohol level was 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal standard of 0.08 percent.

State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho did not say what charge Ludwick will plead guilty to on Tuesday or what sentence the plea deal calls for, but sources close to the case said the sentence will be 3 to 9 years in prison.

Defense attorney William Keahon declined to comment. Assistant District Attorney Ray Varuolo said the sentence will result in Ludwick spending time in an upstate prison.

Hansen’s family members, who were briefed on the plea deal, said they wanted the criminal case to end. There is a civil suit pending against Ludwick, and family members said they are hopeful that will be able to move forward more quickly now.

“Nothing is going to bring Paul back,” said his older brother, Robert Hansen of Southampton. “Justice, to the extent it can be done, will be done.”

Ludwick was driving Hansen home when the crash occurred at about 2 a.m., authorities said. Ludwick’s 2013 Porsche struck a utility pole near Hansen’s home and instead of calling for help, prosecutors said Ludwick dragged Hansen out of the convertible, left him there and drove a short distance in his badly damaged car.

The defense has argued the crash didn’t happen that way. It has said a crash reconstruction showed it was possible that Hansen was ejected when the car hit the pole and that a disoriented Ludwick merely continued driving.

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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