ESCALON — A 17-year-old Escalon High School student was stabbed eight times during a fight at a party in a large vineyard late Friday, a friend of the stabbing victim said.
Josh May was stabbed in the lower abdomen, the back, the hip and the hand, said 17-year-old Clint Lane, May's friend.
Lane said May was taken by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, where he was listed in critical condition Friday night. May was "doing a lot better," after his condition was upgraded Saturday morning, Lane said.
San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department officials, who would not identify the victim, said someone anonymously called to report a fight and stabbing that occurred during a party at an area called "The Vines," according to a sheriff's news release.
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Attempts to reach the May family were unsuccessful.
Investigators had not identified a suspect and no arrests had been made as of Saturday. Lane, however, said the attacker was May's classmate.
Attacker still at large
Investigators described the attacker as an 18-year-old Latino man, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, and weighing about 190 pounds. The man last was seen wearing a black T-shirt, blue jeans and brown boots.
Lane said the party involved alcohol and was hidden in the vineyard, which sits along Escalon-Bellota Road near East Skiff Road, between Escalon and Farmington.
Lane said May, a member of the football team, arrived at the party about 10 p.m. and confronted a classmate. The two started arguing, which led to pushing and shoving, Lane said.
He said he broke up the fight twice, but it continued until the classmate pulled a knife and stabbed May.
"Josh stood up and then he went to his knees after he realized he had been stabbed," Lane said.
Several teens at the party called 911 after the stabbing.
Lane said he and another teen at the party put May in a pickup and drove to meet paramedics.
Lane's mother, Martha Lane, a friend of the May family, said the vineyard is notorious for large weekend parties with alcohol that run late into the night.
She said the parties can't be seen from the road and are well hidden in the vines.
"There are so many parties and so many people out there," Lane said. "Everyone knows about it, but nothing is ever done about it."