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North Dakota senator’s son charged with manslaughter after allegedly leading police chase that ended in a deputy’s death

By Sara Smart, CNN

(CNN) — The son of North Dakota Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer has been charged with manslaughter after crashing into an unoccupied patrol vehicle that struck and killed a sheriff’s deputy who was outside of the car on Wednesday.

Responding to a report of a stolen vehicle in Bismarck, law enforcement began chasing Ian Cramer, 42, after he fled when they approached him in Hazen, according to a release from the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

During the pursuit, Cramer, who was driving a Chevy Tahoe, crashed into an unoccupied Mercer County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle that was parked on the side of the road, the release says.

Mercer County Deputy Paul Martin, 53, was standing outside the vehicle and about to deploy a tire deflation device to end the pursuit, NDHP said. “The impact of the crash pushed the patrol vehicle into the deputy, killing him,” NDHP said.

Cramer has been charged with manslaughter, fleeing a police officer, preventing arrest, reckless endangerment and driving under suspension, according to online court records.

CNN hasn’t been able to determine if Cramer has been appointed an attorney. He is expected to make an initial appearance in court on Friday, court records show.

Sen. Cramer said in a statement that his son suffers from “serious mental disorders which manifest in severe paranoia and hallucinations.”

On Wednesday, the senator’s wife, Kris, was taking Ian Cramer to the Sanford Health emergency room in Bismark, he said.

“When she got out of our vehicle, Ian jumped into the driver’s seat and fled,” Sen. Cramer said.

The senator said his daughter used tracking through his wife’s cell phone to help officials locate his son.

“We grieve especially for the family of the hero who tried to help Ian, and we pray for our gracious God to show up as He always does in tragedy,” Sen. Cramer said.

Martin is survived by his wife and three children and was an 18-year veteran with the sheriff’s office.

“NDHP honors the memory and sacrifice of Mercer County Deputy Paul Martin and sends condolences to his family, friends, and the entire Mercer County community,” NDHP said in a statement on Facebook.

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