The Winners! Virginia Couple Claims #239 Million Jackpot
"Sweetheart, I've got those numbers."
With those words, J. R. Triplett of Winchester told his wife Peggy that they had won the largest jackpot ever in Virginia and the second largest undivided jackpot in U. S. history.
It was around 7:00 on the morning of February 21, 2004. Mr. Triplett had just seen a television news report announcing that one Mega Millions ticket had matched all six numbers in the previous night's drawing. The winning numbers were 01-13-20-21-30 and the Mega Ball number 24. They sounded very familiar to him.
"I can remember numbers real well," says the retired truck driver.
Mr. Triplett bought the ticket at Red Apple in Stephens City, just a few miles from his home. He says he had never been in the store before, but on the afternoon of the drawing, he decided to stop at the convenience store and buy five tickets. He used the Easy Pick feature, and let the terminal randomly select six numbers for him. He was one of millions of people who played Mega Millions for that drawing, which was attracting world wide attention for its high jackpot, then estimated at $230 million.
"After waiting to hear from the winners for almost six weeks, we are especially delighted to award Virginia's record-setting Mega Millions jackpot to J. R. and Peggy Triplett," says Virginia Lottery Executive Director Penelope W. Kyle. "We were beginning to believe that the ticket had been lost or destroyed."
The Tripletts have chosen to take the Cash Option, for approximately $141.5 million before taxes. At least 4% of the cash amount paid to the Tripletts (approximately $5.6 million) will be withheld for state income taxes, in addition to 25% that will be withheld for federal income taxes.
When he told his wife of 35 years that they were winners, Mr. Triplett says Peggy cried. "Then she got down on her knees and thanked the Lord," he says. "It didn't excite me all that much. It's no big thing to me."
Mr. Triplett says after driving a truck for 47 years, not too much excites him any more.
"The impact of this prize, not just to the Tripletts, but to the entire Commonwealth of Virginia can not be underestimated," said Kyle.
All profits from the Virginia Lottery, including Mega Millions tickets sold in Virginia, go to public school education (K-12) in the Commonwealth. In fiscal year 2003 the Lottery turned over more than $375 million for Virginia's public schools.
Mega Millions is played in eleven states: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Mega Millions drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday at 11:00 pm Eastern Time.
For more information, visit www.valottery.com or www.megamillions.com.
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