North Dakota senator’s son charged with manslaughter after officer killed in police chase

North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer‘s son has been charged with manslaughter after his alleged involvement in a police chase that resulted in the death of a sheriff’s deputy Wednesday night.

Ian Cramer, 42, faces manslaughter, fleeing an officer and other charges in connection with the incident in Mercer County, North Dakota, according to court records. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the charges, which were first reported by The Associated Press.

A police pursuit of Cramer ended in a crash that killed sheriff deputy Paul Martin, who had taken cover behind his vehicle after laying a tire deflation device in the road, court documents said.

In a statement Wednesday, the Republican senator said that his son suffers from “serious mental disorders which manifest in severe paranoia and hallucinations,” and that his family is grieving the death of the sheriff’s deputy.

“We grieve especially for the family of the hero who tried to help Ian,” Cramer said. “We ask the public for prayers for the lost officer’s family and colleagues who serve us every day and are grateful for all they do for us.”

Sen. Cramer said that his wife, Kris, was with their son “when he insisted on going to his brother” Isaac Cramer, who died in 2018 after being hospitalized with liver and kidney failure stemming from alcoholism, The Bismarck Tribune reported at the time.

Cramer, who served three terms in the House, was elected to the Senate months after his son Isaac’s death.

On Wednesday, Kris Cramer took her son to the Sanford Health emergency room in Bismarck, the senator said, adding that when his wife got out of the vehicle, “Ian jumped into the driver’s seat and fled.”

According to Bismarck police, officers were called to the Sanford emergency room to respond to a damaged ambulance bay door, and learned that Ian Cramer had “allegedly rammed the doors” of the bay and fled after his mother brought him there over signs of mental health issues.

The senator said that after his son fled, his daughter helped law enforcement track him through Kris Cramer’s cellphone, which had remained in the vehicle.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol said in a news release that it located Ian Cramer in a 2017 Black Chevy Tahoe in Hazen and that a “pursuit ensued” after law enforcement approached Cramer and he fled in the vehicle.

During the pursuit, Cramer “veered and crashed head-on” into an unoccupied Mercer County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle which Martin was standing behind, highway patrol said.

Martin, 53, was killed when the impact of the crash pushed the patrol vehicle into him, according to highway patrol, which said the deputy was readying a tire deflation device in an effort to end the pursuit.

An 18-year veteran of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, Martin was described in a post on the sheriff’s office Facebook page as a “beloved brother in law enforcement, a husband, father, and grandpa.”

“Our wound is raw, and our hearts are broken,” Sheriff Terry Ternes wrote.

Ian Cramer was taken into custody after the crash and transported to a hospital before he was taken to a detention center, highway patrol said.

A Bismarck Police Department spokesperson and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ian Cramer’s initial court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

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