Son of Sen. Kevin Cramer Involved in Fatal Car Chase


The son of a United States senator was arrested on felony charges after he led police in North Dakota on a car chase that ended in a crash near Hazen, N.D., and killed a sheriff’s deputy on Wednesday.

Ian Cramer, the 42-year-old son of Senator Kevin Cramer, a Republican of North Dakota, was charged with manslaughter and other felonies, court records show.

The deputy killed was Paul Martin, 53, who had worked at Mercer County Sheriff’s Office for 18 years.

The chase began at about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, when Kris Cramer, the senator’s wife, drove their son to an emergency room in Bismarck because he was experiencing a mental health crisis, according to a statement released by the senator.

The younger Mr. Cramer, his father said in the statement, suffers from “serious mental disorders which manifest in severe paranoia and hallucinations.”

“Kris was with Ian when he insisted on going to his brother Ike,” Kevin Cramer said in the statement on Wednesday. “Ike died in 2018.”

Upon arrival at the hospital, Ian Cramer “jumped into the driver’s seat” and fled, the senator said. He drove it through the doors of the hospital’s ambulance bay, according to the Bismarck Police Department.

The vehicle, a black 2017 Chevrolet S.U.V., was then reported stolen, the police said.

The authorities were able to locate Ian Cramer in the city of Hazen, roughly 70 miles away in Mercer County, because his mother’s phone had been left in the car and its location was being tracked by his sister, the senator said.

Ian Cramer then led the police on a pursuit on a highway.

The chase went on for about five miles before Mr. Cramer crashed the S.U.V. into an unoccupied sheriff’s patrol car that was parked on the side of the highway, ending the pursuit a little over an hour after he had sped off from the hospital.

Mr. Martin “was standing outside and behind the patrol vehicle when it was struck,” the North Dakota Highway Patrol said. “The impact of the crash pushed the patrol vehicle into the deputy, killing him.”

The Highway Patrol said that Mr. Martin had been preparing to deploy a “tire deflation device” to stop the fleeing driver.

“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,” the senator said.

“He is our beloved brother in law enforcement, a husband, father, and grandpa,” Sheriff Terry Ternes of Mercer County said in a statement. “Our wound is raw, and our hearts are broken.”

Ian Cramer was taken to a hospital in Hazen, N.D., before being booked into jail in neighboring McLean County. He was still in custody on Thursday evening, a jail official said, and there was no lawyer listed in his court records.

Aside from the manslaughter charge, Mr. Cramer faces other felony charges for fleeing the police, resisting arrest and reckless endangerment, court records show.

The police in Bismarck said it was working with the state’s attorney in Burleigh County to charge Mr. Cramer for crimes committed there.



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