2009-09-01 16:09:56.7

O'Fallon Couple's Dream Becomes Reality with $4.4 Million Lotto Prize

Story Photo audio icon An O’Fallon couple had a sleepless night on Aug. 30, but it wasn’t because their children were keeping them awake.  The restlessness felt by Heather and Jason McCarty, parents of two with one on the way, can be attributed to learning that they were $4.4 million richer after a routine trip to the grocery store earlier that day.

"He had two tickets, and he checked them in the Shop ’n Save in O’Fallon," Heather revealed.  "It said, ’Winner,’ and he saw four, four and zero, and he thought he won $4,000." 

According to Heather, her husband was excited about possibly winning $4,000, but before he asked a clerk to check the ticket again, he thought more about the prize amount.  Something didn’t make sense.

"He scanned the ticket again and saw four, four and all these zeros," she said.  "He thought maybe something was wrong, so he checked his other ticket, but it said, ’Not a winner.’  So he checked it (winning ticket) one more time, and it said the same thing."

By that point, Jason began to realize that he might have won more than $4,000.

"I don’t think I’ll ever forget the phone call that I got," said Heather, who was napping when she received the call.  "I barely woke up, and I got on the phone, and I couldn’t even understand him.  He said, ’I think I just won $4.4 million!’"

Heather didn’t believe her husband at first, but after waking up a bit more, she realized he had to be telling the truth, because "his voice was just shaking and shaking."  She instructed him to "get home right now."

When Jason returned home, the McCartys immediately checked the ticket from their home computer to confirm the winning numbers. 

"Sure enough, there it was," she said.  "He bought a $5 ticket, and it was the very first numbers (that won)."

The win "couldn’t have come at a better time," as the McCartys have been trying to sell their home for the past two months to move into a home large enough to accommodate their growing family.

"We’re in a cloud," noted Heather.  "There are no words."

In addition to a new home, the McCartys plan to help family, purchase a minivan and become "debt-free."  

What’s more, the couple is celebrating their 10-year wedding anniversary later this week.

"He came home, and said, ’Here, happy anniversary," added Heather, referring to her husband handing her the ticket worth $4.4 million.

The McCartys, who used Quick Pick to select the winning numbers, purchased the winning ticket at Q-Stop IV, 914 Bryan Road in O’Fallon.  They matched all six numbers drawn – 21, 23, 26, 35, 36 and 38 – to win the jackpot.

Q-Stop IV will receive a bonus check for $44,000 – equal to 1 percent of the advertised jackpot – for selling the winning ticket.

The McCarty’s prize is the 192nd Lotto jackpot ticket sold since the Lottery began in 1986.

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