From revjack@radix.net

Newsgroups: alt.slack

From: Sketchy Albedo <revjack@radix.net>

Date: 23 Dec 1997 22:30:25 GMT

 

Huge camel fleeing live Nativity scene killed on Route 50

 By: CHRISTOPHER MUNSEY, Staff Writer

A Camel that got loose from a live Nativity performance at a Kent Island

church ran out onto Route 50 and was struck and killed by a car Sunday

night, state police said.

 

The violent event marred an elaborate Christmas show staged by the Kent

Island United Methodist Church on Cox Neck Road near Chester.

 

The motorist who hit the camel, Vinit Mody of Columbia, said he only

remembers seeing the dark shape of a large animal running into the

headlights of his rented 1998 Volvo station wagon on eastbound Route 50.

 

He steered to try to avoid the animal, but it struck the right side of the

station wagon. As the 6-foot tall, 600 pound Arabian camel slammed into

the vehicle, an explosion of shattered glass sprayed into the front seat.

 

Sitting stunned in the wreckage of his car, his body and face pricked with

shards of glass, Mt Mody said someone told him he had hit a camel.

 

"I said, 'How in hell is a camel on Route 50 in the United States of

America?' You only see a camel in the zoo," he said.

 

The camel, a 1--year-old male named Ernie, had been tied to a trailer at

the church along Cox Neck Road. His companion, Fred, did not escape. The

church is a few hundred feet from the highway.

 

The Kent Island United Methodist Church hosted the second night of the

Nativity performance Sunday. About 100 people came to Saturday's 7 p.m.

performance.

 

The camel was one of two owned by church members John and Kathleen

McQueeney of Stevensville taking part in the performance. The mcQueeneys

own Fantasy Farms, a collection of exotic pets. Local schoolchildren

often visit the animals.

 

It was the first year the church had organized a living Nativity outside

the church, said the Rev. Ken Valentine.

 

Sometime after 6 p.m., the camel got loose. The accident, reported at

6:28 p.m., wasn't visible from the church.

 

Mr. McQueeney told him he made sure to tie the camel securely to the

trailer. They don't think anyone untied it deliberately, the Rev.

Valentine said. The camel was left unattended for a few minutes as Mr.

Mcqueeney showed his elderly parents where to park. When he heard someone

call out that the camel was loose, he ran back to the trailer.

 

"I ran full speed up to the highway, but he had been hit," Mr. Mcqueeney

said.

 

Church members decided to go ahead with the performence, scheduled for 7

p.m.

 

"We felt it would have had a longer negative impact on the children if we

canceled," the Rev. Valentine said.

 

As they planned the Nativity this fall, their greatest worry was that an

animal would get loose. For safety, each animal was accompanied by a

person, and none was let out of its trailers until close to the

performance.

 

Mr. Mody and his wife, Kiran, were driving to pick up their son at

Washington College in Chestertown for the holiday break.

 

Originally from India, Mr. Mody is a Jain, a branch of Hinduism. Jains do

not eat meat and practice nonviolence. To be responsible for the death of

an animal is distressing, he said.

 

When he called for help, Mr. Mody said he had trouble convincing

dispatchers that he wasn't suffering from drug-induced hallucinations.

 

The Modys were treated at Anne Arundel Medical Center and released.

 

The church might still put on a living Nativity next year, but would

reconsider using live animals, the Rev. Valentine said.

 

"It was a tragedy. We were trying to do something positive for

Christmas...and then the animal's killed, and people that were

injured, we feel very badly for them," he said.

 

--

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