Whatever the reason, Ernie the camel wanted no part of the Sunday evening Nativity pageant on Maryland's Eastern Shore. He fled the wise men, scampering down Route 50, but soon met a tragic end: Somewhere near Stevensville, the six-foot, 600-pound Arabian collided with the front of a 1998 Volvo station wagon and was killed.
The man behind the wheel was no stranger to camels. Vinit Mody said he grew up in India, where he fondly remembers seeing the animals. But now Mody, 50, lives in Columbia, in a country where the typical camel lives in a zoo and does not often explore the roads. He had figured the darkened creature lumbering toward him on the highway had to be a deer. Maybe a horse.
A few minutes later, several costumed wise men crossed the highway and delivered the unlikely news: Mody had hit a camel. Their camel -- an integral part of a live Nativity scene sponsored by Kent Island United Methodist Church in Stevensville.
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