Friday November 1 2013Â â€“ The five-month search to find a Virginia Mega Millions jackpot winner entitled to a share of $198 million is finally over. Lewis Howard from Cumberland stepped forward to claim $99 million yesterday at Lottery HQ in Richmond just two weeks before the ticket was due to expire!
Lewisâ€™ ticket matched all six numbers from the May 17 Mega Millions drawing â€“ 11, 15, 35, 43, 49 and the Mega Ball 41 â€“ but he waited an astonishing five months before claiming his multi-million dollar prize. Upon finding he had matched all the winning numbers Lewis, a modest and down to earth man, took the win in his stride. â€œI thought, â€˜Okay, so I have all six numbers,â€™â€ he said. â€œI really wasnâ€™t that excited.â€
The retired HVAC technician initially only told his wife of the win before setting about gathering a team of financial and legal experts to advise him on the best course of action. Lewis didnâ€™t even tell his two children and three grandchildren of his windfall!
With the ticket claim deadline of November 13, his indifference took him dangerously close to the wire as his ticket would have been worthless if he had waited much longer. “I almost waited too late, until my wife reminded me,” he remarked. Regular readers of LotteryWorld will know that we have run numerous stories about the missing Mega Millions winner and all the while Lewis had simply been biding his time! The team here at LotteryWorld team are doubtful we could have waited as long as Lewis did; he must have the patience of a saint!
As Lewis stepped forward to collect his big check, he told press that he was sitting at home watching TV when his right hand began itching, and he remembered that his mother once told him that an itching right hand meant money would be coming from an unexpected source. He went out and bought $5 worth of Mega Millions tickets from the Food Lion store on 1592 South Main Street in Farmville and the rest is history!
He has now claimed the winnings as a cash option of $73.3 million and his victory has not only become Virginiaâ€™s seventh Mega Millions jackpot win, but also the fifth largest prize ever awarded by the state. The Food Lion store has received a $50,000 bonus for selling the ticket.
When asked of his immediate plans, he said he wants to go on a cruise holiday. However he enjoys the winnings though, he says heâ€™ll continue playing the lottery, despite his big win. â€œItâ€™s my hobby,â€ he said.
â€œI know my life has changed and Iâ€™m truly blessed to win, but Iâ€™m just a regular guy,â€ he continued. â€œIf it could happen to me, it could happen to anybody!â€by
Updated February 17th, 2015