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Sep 4, 2015 10:47 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor Community Comes Together To Celebrate Life Of Paul Hansen

Friends and family of Paul Hansen gathered together to celebrate his life. Kurt Leggard/Hamptons Mouthpiece KURT LEGGARD/HAMPTONS MOUTHPIECE
Sep 10, 2015 11:06 AM

As members of the Sag Harbor community gathered on Sagg Main Beach on Monday to remember Paul Hansen, who was killed last week in a fatal car crash, they stood tall, positioning themselves to spell out his name and extending their arms up toward the sky.

It was Labor Day, also known as Mimosa Monday to local residents who have made it an annual tradition for more than 30 years to head down to the beach and wish the summer goodbye.

This year’s Mimosa Monday was different, though, as they bid farewell to more than just the summer—but also to Mr. Hansen, a friend and family member, who had been the passenger in a deadly one-car crash that occurred last week, allegedly caused by a drunk driver.

“It is one big local goodbye to summer,” Jeff Peters, a close friend of Mr. Hansen from Pierson High School, said of Mimosa Monday. But Monday’s celebration, Mr. Peters added, “showed how much Paul meant to Sag Harbor and Sag Harbor meant to Paul.”

Mr. Hansen and his wife, Catherine Guyer Hansen, have two sons, Hunter, 14, and Austin, 11. Susan Morrissey, Mr. Hansen’s twin sister, described her brother last week as a “very good father and great brother.”

Mr. Hansen, who worked at Douglas Elliman in Sag Harbor, was a man of the water, Mr. Peters said, as he loved all water sports, especially surfing. After his funeral last Thursday, September 3, friends and family celebrated Mr. Hansen’s life on another waterfront—Long Beach—when about 15 boats gathered for a party. People paddled out into the water, forming a circle for a water memorial. They tossed and scattered roses into the salty water, Mr. Peters said, adding that several hundred people attended.

Robert Hansen, Paul Hansen’s brother, said, “What he would be saying to us is, ‘Hey, you gotta move on.’ He would be moving on, he would figure out a way to move on. We have to do that for Cathy, the boys and all of us. We will find our way and we will always remember him.”

“That afternoon was spent at the beach because Paul would not have wanted us to sulk,” Mr. Hansen’s brother-in-law, Tom Morrissey, said.

Mr. Morrissey said that the family plans to try to raise funds to help support Hunter and Austin.

“We are going to conduct a short film documentary carrying some of the best stories we hear, and footage from the beach, family videos and pictures,” Mr. Morrissey said. “We want to set the boys up for the future.” He added that the family wants Ms. Guyer Hansen to be able to spend time with her sons.

“When there is time in need, people come together in this town,” Mr. Peters said. “That is something we are losing in this world, but not here in Sag Harbor.”

Mr. Morrissey noted that the wake, which was held last Wednesday evening, went well beyond its designated hours and lasted until 10:30 p.m. “People were in line for over two hours,” he said.

The accused drunk driver is 42-year-old Sean Ludwick, who police said crashed into a utility pole early Sunday morning on August 30, near Mr. Hansen’s home on Rolling Hill Court East. He left Mr. Hansen dead and on the side of the road, and he was found on Woodvale Street, more than a block away from the accident scene, standing next to his broken-down Porsche, according to authorities.

Mr. Ludwick, a founding partner of BlackHouse Development best known for its construction of Hotel Americano on the Highline in Manhattan, made no mention of his passenger to police. So far, he has only been charged with misdemeanor DWI and leaving the scene of a fatal accident, a felony.

Three local attorneys, Colin Astarita, Andrea Schiavoni and Edward Burke Jr., are representing the Hansen family, Mr. Morrissey said. Mr. Astarita’s associate, Anthony Rutkowski, explained that Mr. Ludwick could face additional charges of vehicular manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison, and the current charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident, carries the same possible sentence. He added that charges will depend on the grand jury’s indictment.

Mr. Ludwick and his wife, Pamela, have a three-bedroom home on Brick Kiln Road in Bridgehampton, and a home in Manhattan. His son and Mr. Hansen’s son knew each other from attending the Ross School’s lower campus in Bridgehampton.

Mr. Ludwick has been in trouble with the law previously: last year, he was arrested in New York City for allegedly entering his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and vandalizing paintings that he had given her. Mr. Ludwick was also charged two years ago on Martha’s Vineyard with the assault and battery of a former girlfriend, but those charges were ultimately dismissed and he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Manhattan-based criminal-defense attorney Daniel Ollen, who has represented Mr. Ludwick in some of his past New York City cases, is also representing him in the Southampton case. On Tuesday, he said his client was “very sad and remorseful,” but he would not comment on any of the facts of the case.

Southampton Town Police Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa explained that the department’s preliminary investigation revealed that Mr. Hansen was not wearing his seatbelt when Mr. Ludwick’s Porsche crashed into the utility pole. Police are working with the Medical Examiner’s office, Suffolk County Crime Lab, and the State Police Forensic and Collision Reconstruction Unit to investigate the crash, she noted.

Mr. Ludwick posted $1 million bond on September 1, a day after his arraignment. At his second court appearance on Friday in Southampton Town Justice Court, Judge Deborah Kooperstein adjourned the case until September 28. Mr. Ludwick sat in the back of the courtroom that day, emotionless and counting a wad of cash.

Robert Hansen explained that Mr. Ludwick was a recent acquaintance of his brother, Paul, and he doesn’t know why the two were together on that fateful night.

“I can’t imagine he would spend time with someone like that,” he said. “It is going to be a huge loss for everybody, but personally, for me, I saw him every day and it really has left a hole there. I’m sure for a lot of folks.”

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Creepy little man
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Sep 4, 15 3:55 PM
most Porsche drivers are
By ocean1975 (2), southampton on Sep 4, 15 5:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
creepy little men driving porsches don't typically drive drunk, hit a pole,drag dying friend out of car to die,toss friend's wallet in woods to make it look like a mugging, drive away ,and when the cops catch up with him, never mention there just so happened to be someone else in the car when he hit the pole. and he sits emotionless in court counting a wad of cash because he thinks he'll get off just like he always has in the past. pondscum on a good day.
By wmdwjr (76), east hampton on Sep 5, 15 3:19 AM
4 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Sep 5, 15 7:29 AM
Maybe we wait and see if the passenger without a seatbelt was thrown from the car, which would send a wallet into the woods. Or if the driver suffered head trauma and didn't know what happened. Heck, he might not even be little !
By Reggie (1), Hampton Bays on Sep 13, 15 9:32 PM
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