Senator's son appears in court on new homicide charge from crash that killed North Dakota deputy

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This undated photo provided by the Mercer County, N.D., Sheriff's Office shows Sheriff's Deputy Paul Martin with his retired K9 Goliath, who died in 2019. Martin, 53, died Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, in a crash involving Ian Cramer, the 42-year-old son of Republican U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. (Mercer County Sheriffs Office via AP)

BISMARCK, N.D. – The 42-year-old son of U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer appeared in court Monday on a new homicide charge in connection with the crash that killed a North Dakota sheriff’s deputy.

State District Court Judge Bobbi Weiler did not change the $500,000 cash bond she set for him earlier this month. Ian Cramer, who is in jail, is set for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 7. His attorney said he is gathering information for a mental health evaluation.

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Last week the judge approved new charges that upgraded Cramer's initial manslaughter count to homicide while fleeing a peace officer in connection with the Dec. 6 death of Mercer County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Martin.

Cramer faces nine charges, including reckless endangerment and preventing arrest, related to the pursuit and crash.

The senator said in a statement that his son has “serious mental disorders which manifest in severe paranoia and hallucinations.” Ian Cramer's mother had driven him to a Bismarck hospital over concerns about his mental health, police said. When she got out of the family's SUV, her son took the wheel and crashed through a door to get out of an enclosed ambulance bay.

Authorities say he then fled from deputies who spotted him in Hazen, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Bismarck.

Cramer hit speeds of 100 mph (160 kph) and kept going even after a spiked device flattened two tires, according to court documents. More spikes were set up and Cramer swerved and then crashed head-on into Martin's squad car, launching him about 100 feet (30 meters), authorities said.

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