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Johnson County Woman Has Lucky Day, Wins $50,000 Lottery Prize

Sandi Von Sprecken Wins Top Prize Playing "Super Crossword" Scratch Game

Sandi Von Sprecken   Hear Sandi tell her story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Johnson County woman won a $50,000 lottery prize on a day she thought might be lucky for her.

Sandi Von Sprecken, 65, of Swisher won the big prize playing the "Super Crossword" instant-scratch game.

"You how they say 'Pennies From Heaven' and stuff like that. I found a couple dimes in a weird place yesterday and then I thought it was my lucky day. Yes, 7-7-11. I've still got butterflies."

Von Sprecken bought and scratched the winning ticket on July 7, 2011.

At first Von Sprecken thought she had a $500 winner until she had it verified and found out she actually won $50,000.

"They said, 'Oh, no, it's $50,000!' I was like 'Oh, my God!'" exclaimed Von Sprecken.

She also gives some credit to her daughter, Michelle Mask, for the win. Mask purchased a ticket at Von Sprecken's request when she went into the convenience store to get a cold drink. Von Sprecken said she doesn't usually play her daughter's choice of Crossword, but is happy she did this time.

Von Sprecken scratched the ticket in her car while Mask was at an appointment and was excited at the prospect of winning $500.

"I started scratching it and it's like 'oh, hey, there goes another letter, there's another word.' I've never been a big winner before, so I was just like 'oh wow, oh wow,'" she said.

They began making plans for Von Sprecken's winnings before they discovered the big prize.

"Let's go get the cash. We'll go somewhere for lunch," Von Sprecken recalled telling Mask. "Now we'll have to do a lot of lunches!"

Von Sprecken and her husband, Dave, are now wondering what they should do with the winnings.

"We've been talking about getting in a vehicle, going out West sometime. Now we can. It doesn't matter what the gas price is right now," she said.

Von Sprecken retired from a job at the University of Iowa about a year ago.

She claimed her prize July 8 at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Cedar Rapids. She purchased the winning ticket at the Corner Stop, 100 E. Madison St. in Washington.