The son of U.S Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D) is facing new and upgraded charges relating to the death of a North Dakota sheriff’s deputy.
Ian Cramer, 42, led officers on a car chase earlier this month in a stolen vehicle. During the pursuit, Cramer crashed head-on into an unoccupied Mercer County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle. Mercer County Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Martin, 53, was standing behind the vehicle at the time preparing to “deploy a tire deflation device” to end the pursuit. The impact of the crash pushed the patrol car into Martin killing him.
Cramer was initially charged with manslaughter, fleeing a police officer, reckless endangerment, and a misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended license.
The manslaughter charge was upgraded to homicide while fleeing a peace officer on Thursday, according to court records. The new charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a possible $20,000 fine, which is a higher maximum penalty than a manslaughter charge.
Cramer also faces new drug charges including possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
According to the Associated Press, authorities searched the car Cramer was driving after the accident and found a backpack with several grams of meth, cocaine and marijuana as well as baggies, rolled up dollar bills, smoking devices, lighters and Arizona jail booking paperwork for Ian Cramer.
On the day of the accident, Cramer was being driven around by his mother. She made a stop at his home where he retrieved some items including the backpack, the AP reports.
A judge set a $500,000 cash bond for Cramer and ordered a mental health evaluation.
Sen. Cramer released a statement after the accident saying his son “suffers from serious mental disorders which manifest in severe paranoia and hallucinations.”
Before the accident he insisted on “going to his brother Ike,” who died in 2018.” The senator’s wife, Kris, took Ian to the Sanford Health emergency room in Bismarck. When she got out of the family’s Chevrolet Tahoe, “Ian jumped into the driver’s seat and fled,” Cramer said in his statement.