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Looking at my manual, the left and right brake light have different fuses and run though different plugs. The brake position sensor feeds the BCM (Body Control Module) and it develops the signal for the 3 lights. The fact the high center light is coming on shows the BCM is getting the signal.

So, it looks like you probably have a bad BCM ($). However, I'd look to see if someone did a hack job of installing trailer wiring.
 
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As you discovered, the third brake lamp is a direct feed from the pedal switch, but, going further, that same signal is sent to the BCM and the brake light circuit is actuated by it.
According to my manual, the third light is controlled by the BCM. And it's a brake position sensor, not a switch. I'm pretty sure the BCM uses the position for other things besides the brake lights. Perhaps the brake assist.
 
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