Madison police investigate hate crime: Bi-racial woman burned while stopped for red light

MADISON -- Madison police said Thursday, June 25 they're investigating an assault on an 18-year-old woman who is bi-racial as a hate crime.

Police said the woman was burned with lighter fluid early Wednesday morning, June 24.

According to police, the victim believes she was driving on W. Gorham Street when she stopped for a red light at State Street. Her driver's side window was down and she heard someone yell out a racial epithet. She looked and saw four men, all white. She said 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.

She drove forward, patted out the flames and eventually drove home, police said. Her mother encouraged her to go to a hospital.

Hospital staff believed the liquid was lighter fluid. She was treated for burns, and will need to make follow-up visits to access additional medical care, according to police.

Police said investigators are looking at surveillance images to see if any of the assault was captured on camera.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014 or by computer at