MADISON, Wis. (WGN) -- Police in Wisconsin are investigating the alleged assault of an 18-year-old biracial woman as a possible hate crime after she told police that four white men sprayed her with lighter fluid and set her on fire, WISC-TV reports.
Althea Bernstein said she was stopped at a traffic light with her driver’s side window down Wednesday morning when four men drove up to her and yelled racial slurs at her.
According to a report filed with the Madison Police Department, Bernstein said one man used a spray bottle to deploy a liquid on her face and neck, and then threw a flaming lighter at her, causing the liquid to ignite. Hospital staff believes the liquid was lighter fluid.
Bernstein drove home and later sought treatment at a hospital, the report said. She’s recovering from second- and third-degree burns.
Interim Police Chief Victor Wahl said investigators are reviewing surveillance video. He said the men involved could face possible charges of a hate crime, attempted homicide and recklessly endangering safety.
Madison365 reports the Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the investigation into the attack on the 18-year-old EMT and aspiring paramedic.