Judy “Jude” Stephens, 56, regularly sends her husband, Ernie, across the state line into Missouri to get gas and Lottery tickets, but the Alton, Ill., woman was shocked when he brought home a ticket worth $1.9 million.
Ernie’s regular trip “across the bridge” paid off when he purchased a Missouri Lotto ticket at Rivers Edge, 14700 U.S. Highway 67 in West Alton, for the June 25 drawing. The $5 Quick Pick ticket gave the couple 10 chances to win the jackpot prize.
With the purchase made, they had no idea that the next day would change their lives, making them the state’s 205th Lotto winner and the 320th Missouri Lottery-made millionaires since sales began in 1986.
“He came home from work and checked the numbers in the paper,” Jude said, leading up to the details surrounding the moment they realized they had won. “Then he woke me up. He said, ‘Honey, come here. You have to see this… don’t get too excited.’”
She laughed and then added, “Of course, he was shaking all over, though!”
Ernie pointed to the Lottery numbers listed in the local newspaper and, according to Jude, “Boom, boom, boom. There they were!” She said Ernie’s next course of action was to jump in the car to go get a printout of official winning numbers at the gas station.
The couple, both currently employed at Walmart in Wood River, plans to use their Lotto winnings to help their family.
“We plan to take care of our grandchildren, pay up life insurance policies for them,” Jude said, before indicating that they will also “do a little bit for our kids” and that they had their eyes on a possible vacation or a newer house, as well.
Lotto winners have the option to receive their prize in 25 annual payments or as a one-time lump-sum payment. The Stephenses selected the $950,000 cash option.
For selling the winning ticket, Rivers Edge will receive a bonus check for $19,000 – equal to 1 percent of the advertised jackpot. The winning Lotto numbers from June 25 were: 6, 10, 20, 30, 38 and 40.
Lotto is a twice-weekly Draw Game with jackpots that start at $1 million and grow until someone wins.