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A 600-pound camel that broke loose from a real-life Nativity scene at a Maryland church wound up a Christmas casualty on a nearby highway, police said Wednesday.

The Christmas pageant at Kent Island United Methodist Church was supposed to involve more than 200 people and 10 live animals, including Ernie the one-humped camel.

Police said Ernie was tied up at a trailer in the church yard Sunday just before the pageant, a re-enactment of Jesus' birth, was about to begin.

But the frisky camel mysteriously got loose, then wandered onto U.S. Route 50 and into the path of a Volvo station wagon.

"I thought it was a deer or a horse, because it was galloping," the driver, Vinit Mody, told the Baltimore Sun. "I just did not expect a camel in the road here in the United States of America."

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