New charges were approved on Thursday for Ian Cramer, the 42-year-old son of Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., in connection with a fatal crash that claimed the life of a North Dakota sheriff’s deputy. Originally facing a manslaughter charge, the updated charges now include homicide while fleeing a police officer, indicating a higher level of negligence. This enhanced charge carries a greater maximum penalty than manslaughter, with Ian Cramer potentially facing up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. In addition to the homicide charge, Cramer is charged with several offenses, including fleeing a police officer, preventing arrest, reckless endangerment, and drug charges related to possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.
The upgraded charges come in the aftermath of a December 6 crash that killed 53-year-old Mercer County Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Martin. Ian Cramer, reportedly experiencing a mental health episode at the time, fled from a hospital, stole his mother’s SUV, and crashed into the doors of an ambulance bay. The incident led to a police pursuit during which Cramer collided with Martin’s police cruiser, resulting in the deputy’s immediate death. The press release from the Bismark Police Department indicates that Cramer’s mental health condition, characterized by severe paranoia and hallucinations, played a role in the events.
Following the crash, Sen. Kevin Cramer released a statement attributing his son’s actions to severe mental disorders. Cramer’s wife had taken him to the hospital during the mental health episode, where he subsequently fled. The statement highlighted Cramer’s insistence on visiting his deceased brother, Ike, who passed away in 2018. A $500,000 cash bond was set for Ian Cramer, and a mental health evaluation was ordered during his court appearance. Sen. Cramer’s office did not provide an immediate response to requests for comment from Fox News Digital.