After drunkenly crashing his Porsche into a utility pole in the Hamptons and killing his passenger, a Manhattan real estate developer shoved the dead man's body out of the car and tossed his possessions into the woods, prosecutors said on Monday. You'll recall that Sean Ludwick, 43, was arrested at the end of last summer after driving away from the scene of his crash in Sag Harbor—his dying acquaintance, Paul Hansen, was left at the side of the road.
But Ludwick didn't get far in his smashed up Porsche due to two flat tires, and police followed a trail of debris down the road to where they found him, standing outside the damaged vehicle. Police say Ludwick was uncooperative and slurring his speech, and when his blood alcohol level was finally tested by drawing blood four hours later, it was still 0.18, more than twice the legal limit in New York.
Last year a bereaved friend of Hansen told us, "When officers stumbled upon [Sean], he never mentioned that Paul was there. He didn't say, 'Oh, can you go help my friend.' He didn't mention it at all." Hansen was found dead on the side of the road steps from his home. The friend, who requested anonymity because Hansen's family had not authorized anyone to speak about his death, believed that Ludwick dragged Hansen from the car after the crash and tried to escape.
Prosecutors agree, and they say that Ludwick went even further by tossing Hansen's wallet and other possessions from the vehicle, into a wooded area where investigators later found them. "There were some personal effects from the victim, Mr. Hansen, that he threw out into the woods," prosecutor John Scott Prudenti said at Ludwick's arraignment yesterday.
Ludwick pleaded not guilty to DWI, aggravated vehicular homicide and a slew of other charges, and was released on $1 million bail. Outside the Central Islip courthouse, his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told reporters, “This is a very sad case. There is no good answer to the fact that someone is dead. There is a difference between a homicide and an accident that results in a person’s death.”
Ludwick owns residences in Bridgehampton and Manhattan, and is the founder of BlackHouse Development, which has built luxury condos and hotels around Manhattan, including the boutique Hotel Americano overlooking the High Line.
Ludwick also faces a civil suit from Hansen's widow, with whom he had two sons, ages 11 and 14 at the time of his death. Hansen's friend told us "he spent every waking moment that he could with his sons. They were his reason for doing everything. Everything he did was for those boys. It was like he was on a mission to be the best dad ever."