Lighter fluid attack investigated as hate crime

(WMTV/NBC News) The FBI has joined the investigation into an attack on a young woman who was doused with lighter fluid and set ablaze at a Madison, Wisconsin traffic light.

Althea Bernstein, 18, says she was driving on State Street last Wednesday when she heard a racial epithet through her rolled-down driver’s side window.

When Bernstein, who is biracial, looked over, she says she saw four white men, one of whom used a spray bottle to shoot liquid onto her face and neck. Someone then allegedly threw a flaming lighter at her setting the fluid ablaze.

Bernstein told police she drove off, batting down the flames as she went.

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