UPDATE: Son of North Dakota U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer charged with manslaughter

December 8, 2023

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The 42-year-old son of North Dakota U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer was charged Thursday with manslaughter and fleeing an officer after a police pursuit ended in a crash that killed a North Dakota sheriff’s deputy who had taken cover behind his squad car after laying a tire deflation device in the road, according to court documents.

Ian Cramer, of Bismarck, was traveling over 100 mph and already had two flat tires when he slammed head-on into Deputy Paul Martin’s squad car on Wednesday, pushing it “directly into

Martin’s person and launching him for about 100 feet,” according to charging documents. The 53 year-old Martin was killed in the crash.

Ian Cramer is scheduled to make his first court appearance today on multiple felony counts including manslaughter, fleeing a police officer and reckless endangerment.

Kevin Cramer released a statement saying: “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.”

According to Bismarck police, Ian Cramer was driven by his mother to a hospital at around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday over concerns about his mental health. When she got out of the SUV, Cramer took the wheel and crashed through a door to get out of an enclosed ambulance bay at the hospital’s emergency department.

Over an hour later, a deputy in Mercer County spotted Cramer and the Chevrolet Tahoe in Hazen, a community about 70 miles northwest of Bismarck. The North Dakota Highway Patrol said in a news release that a chase then began.

Initial efforts to stop Cramer didn’t work. Charging documents say an officer in Beulah used a tire deflation device, which flattened two of Cramer’s tires, but he kept driving on the highway. Beulah Chief of Police Frank Senn and Martin deployed more deflation devices and took cover behind their cars. Cramer swerved then hit Martin’s vehicle.

Cramer was then taken into custody. He was evaluated at a hospital then jailed.

His father, a first-term Republican senator, wrote that his son “suffers from serious mental disorders which manifest in severe paranoia and hallucinations.” Earlier Wednesday, Ian Cramer insisted on “going to his brother Ike,” who died in 2018, according to the statement, which doesn’t further explain what that means.