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Warren County Man Wins $250,000 Mega Millions® Prize With His Third Ticket In The Game

John Wilson Claims Prize from Tuesday Mega Millions Drawing

John Wilson
  Hear John tell his story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - It's just the third ticket he's ever bought in Mega Millions®, and from it, a central Iowa man is taking home a $250,000 prize.

John Wilson of Ackworth claimed his big prize Thursday at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Des Moines. He won his $250,000 prize in the May 4 Mega Millions drawing, but didn't check his ticket to see if he had won a prize until Thursday afternoon.

"Lightning can strike," Wilson said. "It can happen. And I never thought it would happen to me."

Wilson, 65, who is retired from the Iowa Workforce Development, said he's new to the Mega Millions game, which recently began to be sold in Iowa.

"This is the third time that I've played," he said. "And I spent $2 on a ticket. I got two plays and one of them won. And that's pretty good!"

Powerball and Mega Millions are both lotto games with jackpot prizes that have climbed into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Until recently, the games had been sold by separate groups of lotteries, but many states, including Iowa, began selling tickets in both games in January.

Wilson bought his winning ticket at Hy-Vee, 1107 SE Army Post Road in Des Moines.

The winning numbers in the $266 million Mega Millions drawing on May 4 were: 9-21-31-36-43 and Mega Ball 8. The Megaplier#174; number that night was 3. Wilson's ticket matched the first five numbers but missed the Mega Ball to win a $250,000 prize. He didnít add the Megaplier option to his ticket, which would have multiplied his prize to $750,000.

Players can multiply their prizes (except the jackpot) with the Megaplier up to four times. The cost is $1 per play.

The jackpot for Friday's Mega Million's drawing is an estimated $31 million.

Wilson was enjoying that winning feeling as he claimed his prize and said his lottery money would be going into the bank.

"It makes me do a lot of thinking," he said. "It's not millions, but it will change my life, that's for sure. It's totally unexpected."