A biracial woman says she was set on fire in Wisconsin. Authorities are now investigating the incident as a hate crime

Posted 6 days ago

From WWW.CNN.COM

(CNN)Madison police and the FBI have launched a hate crime investigation after an 18-year-old biracial woman was set on fire.

The assault took place early Wednesday morning when the woman was driving and stopped at a red light and "heard someone yell out a racial epithet," according to a police incident report.

The woman is not named in the report, but a family spokesperson identified her as Althea Bernstein, a college student and a volunteer EMT.

"She looked and saw four men, all white. She says one 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," read the report, which was filed over the phone.

Bernstein then "patted out the flames, and eventually drove home," the report said. "Her mother encouraged her to go to a hospital."

Later on Wednesday, Bernstein called 911 to report the incident, according to Michael Johnson, the family spokesperson and president and CEO of Boys and Girls Club of Dane County.

"Once it happened I don't even remember anything, but your brain still has that fight or flight response that takes care of you," Bernstein told ABC's "Good Morning America," adding that she drove herself to the emergency room....(Read more)