The son of U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) has been charged with manslaughter and other offenses after he was involved in a police chase that resulted in the death of a Mercer County sheriff’s deputy.
Ian Cramer, 42, crashed his family’s SUV, which was reported stolen, into a police cruiser following an hourlong chase on Dec. 7, killing the sheriff’s deputy who was standing behind the vehicle, according to police.
The deputy killed was Paul Martin, 53, from Beulah, North Dakota, the North Dakota Highway Patrol announced. Mr. Martin was an 18-year veteran with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and is survived by his wife and three children.
Mr. Cramer was charged with manslaughter, fleeing a police officer, preventing arrest, reckless endangerment, and driving with a suspended license, court records show.
He is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 8. If convicted on all charges, Mr. Cramer faces 25 years in prison.
In a statement Thursday, the Bismarck Police Department said Mr. Cramer “stole his mother’s car, crashed through the doors of Sanford Hospital, fled from police, and ultimately struck a patrol car in Mercer County leading to the deputy’s death.”
‘Dangers of the Law Enforcement Profession’“Officers were called to Sanford Emergency Room yesterday around 4:30 p.m. regarding damage to an overhead door of the ambulance bay at the Sanford Emergency Department,” the statement read.
“Once there, officers were informed that Ian Cramer of Bismarck was brought there by his mother due to exhibiting mental health issues. When they parked in the ambulance bay, Ian got into the driver’s seat and allegedly rammed the doors of the bay and fled the scene,” it continued.
The police department immediately launched an investigation into the incident and was able to track Mr. Cramer down via a cell phone that had remained in the SUV, officials said.
During the pursuit, the vehicle Mr. Cramer was driving “veered and crashed head-on into an unoccupied Mercer County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle that was parked on a roadside approach,” officials said.
The sheriff’s office vehicle was displaying its emergency lights at the time, they noted.
Mr. Cramer was found by police in the city of Hazen and taken to hospital before being booked into jail in neighboring McLean County.
“This is a stark reminder about the dangers of the law enforcement profession and the risk officers take every day to keep their communities safe,” officials said. “Bismarck Police Department offer their deepest condolences to the family of the Mercer County Deputy, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, and the citizens of Mercer County, as we know the Deputy’s family and his department are struggling with the tragic loss.”
The Republican senator said his son suffers from “serious mental disorders which manifest in severe paranoia and hallucinations,” adding that his family is also grieving the death.
Senator’s Family ‘Grieving’ Over DeathThe elder Cramer, who served three terms in the House of Representatives, was elected to the Senate months after his other son’s death.
“Kris took Ian to the Sanford Health emergency room in Bismarck. When she got out of our vehicle, Ian jumped into the driver’s seat and fled. Our daughter was able to track the car through Kris’ cell phone and lead officers to him in Mercer County, ND. We don’t have more details right now but will work with authorities to properly inform the public,” he said.
The senator said he planned to take the first flight out to be with his family as they “grieve what has happened.”
“We grieve especially for the family of the hero who tried to help Ian, and we pray for our gracious God to show up as He always does in tragedy.”
“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,” he said. “We also ask God for healing for Ian. We love him and hurt deeply,” he continued.
An attorney for Mr. Ian Cramer did not respond to a request for comment before press time.