Lottery winner claims big prize near deadline
With two weeks left before an Idaho lottery ticket worth $250,000 was to expire, a Coeur d’Alene woman claimed her prize Wednesday.
Idaho Lottery officials knew a winning ticket for Mega Millions had been sold at the Fourth Street Safeway store in Coeur d’Alene on April 16, but for 5 1/2 months, no one called to claim the prize.
That is, until Lavonne Hutchison mailed her ticket to lottery officials in Boise, not knowing its value.
“When I had the store check the ticket, they … told me to sign it right away and that I needed to send it to the lottery,” said Hutchison, who has lived in Coeur d’Alene for 34 years. “I thought I’d done something wrong.”
Store officials told Hutchison that the ticket was worth more than they could pay, a prize of more than $600, but didn’t know the total value. When the ticket arrived, an Idaho Lottery employee called Hutchison.
“I had no idea why they were calling to congratulate me for a $600 winner,” said Hutchison, in a news release from the lottery. “They asked me if I knew how much it was worth and I said $600. That’s when they told me it was worth $250,000. I just about passed out.”
The ticket had been in Hutchison’s purse the entire time and she had not played the lottery since that April purchase. The Safeway store will receive a $20,000 bonus for selling the ticket.