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Son of U.S. senator crashes during police pursuit, killing N.D. officer

The suspect rammed a cruiser, pushing it onto a Mercer County deputy, whose name has not yet been released

Deputy Killed-Senator's Son

Sen Kevin Cramer, R-ND, speaks during a hearing, May 20, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Kevin Dietsch/AP

By Jack Dura and Jim Salter
Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. — The 42-year-old son of U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer crashed into a North Dakota sheriff’s vehicle during a police chase, pushing it into a deputy and killing him, according to authorities and the Republican senator’s family.

Ian Cramer, of Bismarck, was arrested and jailed following Wednesday’s crash, and charges are pending, the North Dakota Highway Patrol said in a news release. The name of the Mercer County deputy who was killed has not been released, and the sheriff’s office didn’t immediately respond to a Thursday voicemail seeking further information.

“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,” Kevin Cramer said in a statement.

The first-term 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 the statement, which doesn’t further explain what that means. As a result, the senator’s wife, Kris, took Ian Cramer to the Sanford Health emergency room in Bismarck.

When Kris Cramer got out of the family’s Chevrolet Tahoe, Ian Cramer got into the driver’s seat and drove off, Kevin Cramer said. The senator’s daughter tracked the SUV through a cellphone and alerted the authorities.

Bismarck police were called about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to the hospital due to damage to an overhead door of the hospital emergency department’s ambulance bay, the police department said in a news release. Officers learned Kris Cramer had brought Ian Cramer there due to him “exhibiting mental health issues,” the department said.

While parked in the ambulance bay, “Ian got into the driver’s seat and allegedly rammed the doors of the bay and fled the scene,” police said.

Bismarck police began an investigation into theft of a motor vehicle and criminal mischief, and will forward their reports and documents to the county prosecutor’s office, the department said in a news release.

The highway patrol said a Mercer County deputy saw Cramer and the SUV in the town of Hazen. Cramer fled and, during the chase, crashed at around 6 p.m. into an unoccupied Mercer County Sheriff’s vehicle that was parked on the side of a state highway near Hazen, said Mark Schmitt, chief deputy for Mercer County.

A deputy was standing behind the parked vehicle and preparing to deploy a tire deflation device to end the chase. The impact of the crash pushed the vehicle into the deputy, killing him.

Ian Cramer was taken to a hospital in Hazen and then to the Mercer County Jail in Stanton.

Kevin Cramer was elected to the Senate in 2018 after serving three terms in the House. In addition to Ian and Ike, Cramer and his wife have one other son, two daughters and six grandchildren, according to a biography on Cramer’s Senate web page.