Assault on 18-year-old biracial woman in Wisconsin being investigated as hate crime

An assault on an 18-year-old biracial woman in Wisconsin is being investigated as a hate crime after she was set on fire in her car, according to the Madison Police Department.

The victim, Althea Bernstein, told authorities she was stopped at a red light Wednesday with her driver’s side window down when she heard someone yell a racial slur. It was at that point that four white men allegedly sprayed a liquid on her face and neck and then threw a flaming lighter at her, which caused the liquid to ignite, according to the incident report.

Scared, Bernstein began to drive and patted out the flames, the report stated. She drove home, where her mother told her to go to the hospital.

At the hospital, she was treated for burns and will need to make follow-up visits for additional medical care, authorities said. Hospital staff, according to police, believe the liquid was lighter fluid.

Bernstein told “Good Morning America” Friday she “never thought something like this would happen.”

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