Sean Ludwick, once a prominent New York City real estate developer, was released from New York State prison last month a little more than four years after he was sentenced for the drunken-driving crash that killed his passenger, Sag Harbor real estate agent Paul Hansen, in 2015.
The now 49-year-old had been denied parole three times since he was sentenced to three to nine years, most recently in September of 2021, but became a free man anyway on January 12, 2022. The State Department of Corrections told Behind The Hedges Monday that inmate number 17A4448 had to be released from custody by law due to the five years in total he served — he was behind bars since February 2016 when his $1 million bond was revoked after he reportedly made plans to become a fugitive.
Ludwick will be on parole for another three years until January 12, 2025.
Hansen was killed when Ludwick lost control of his Porsche convertible and struck a utility pole on Rolling Hills Court East in Noyac on August 30, 2015, at about 2 a.m. They were just 100 feet from Hansen’s home, where both men’s young sons slept; Ludwick’s son was there for a sleepover.
Prosecutors alleged in court that Ludwick dragged Hansen’s lifeless body from the badly damaged car before driving away. His mangled sports car stalled and police, responding to a neighbor’s 911 call, found him more than one block away on Woodvale Street.
Hansen, who worked at Douglas Elliman Real Estate’s Sag Harbor office and was also a builder in his hometown, was 53 years old. His children were just 11 and 13.
When Ludwick’s blood was drawn four hours after the crash, it showed his level of intoxication was more than twice the legal limit with a reading of .18 of 1 percent.
Free on a $1 million bond and facing 32 years in prison on a 13-count indictment, he allegedly tried to flee to South America. Officials arrested him after he went to Puerto Rico, took sailing lessons, tried to buy a large boat in cash, and scoured the internet to find out which countries don’t have extradition treaties with the United States. A judge revoked his bail in February 2016 and he had been behind bars ever since.
The following year, in August of 2017, he pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident with a death, as well as aggravated driving while intoxicated. In October, he received a three to nine-year sentence for the top charge, one to three years for leaving the crash scene and one year for aggravated driving while intoxicated, all of which were to run concurrently.
Ludwick made three appearances before the parole board, first in September 2018, then in March 2020, and again last September. In the parole board’s decision following his first attempt, his “lack of empathy and shallow remorse” was noted. He did not fare any better in the two subsequent parole hearings.
After serving time in the Downstate, Gowanda and Otisville correctional facilities, he was released from the latter, a medium-security prison in Orange County. The Corrections Department says his parole will be supervised in Suffolk County, where records show he still owns a home in Bridgehampton.
Upon getting the news of Ludwick’s release, Hansen’s widow and the mother of his sons, Catherine Hansen, posted a message on Facebook asking that people in the Sag Harbor area not to work for Ludwick, as he was moving back to the area. “All the plumbers, electricians, builders, landscapers, delivery people, house cleaners, business owners etc. servicing the Sag Harbor area Please do not work for Sean Ludwick,” she wrote adding that he “fled like a coward” and left her husband “to die 100 feet from our home.”
His 5,884-square-foot home is a three-minute drive from Hansen’s family home and the crash site.
Susan Hansen Morrissey, the victim’s twin sister, told Ludwick at sentencing that when he got out he should choose to live elsewhere, according to 27East.
Ludwick was worth a reported $20 million when he entered prison. A graduate of the Wharton School of Pennsylvania, in 2007 he founded BlackHouse Development, which specialized in luxury condos and hotels, such as the 56-room Hotel Americano overlooking the High Line in New York City.
But, in the years leading up to the fatal crash in 2015, Ludwick seemed to be on a downward spiral. He had a growing rap sheet, ranging from an assault and battery involving a girlfriend on Martha’s Vineyard to charges he broke into the Tribeca apartment of a former mistress and drew penises on artwork he had made for her.
Hansen’s widow filed a wrongful death suit against Ludwick in October 2015. The case was settled out of court in 2018.
Records show that on September 9, 2015, just 10 days after the crash, his Brick Kiln Road property, as well as his townhouse on Sutton Place, were put into the names of limited liability corporations.
His wife, Pamela Harrison Ludwick, sold the Sutton Place townhouse for $5.6 million in August 2021, records show.
Conditions of his release include being prohibited to leave the state without permission of his parole officer.
Ludwick could not be reached for comment.