Thursday, May 15, 2003

$14M lottery jackpot slips away unclaimed

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - It's too late for the owner of a winning Super Lotto Plus ticket to claim a $14 million jackpot from the Nov. 13, 2002, drawing.

The deadline passed Tuesday without anyone turning in the ticket that was sold at a convenience store in Crooksville in Perry County.

That's the single-biggest missed opportunity in Ohio Lottery history. The previous record for an unclaimed prize was set in November 2000 when a $9 million winning Lotto ticket expired.

Winning tickets expire 180 days after the drawing date. In this case, the winner chose payments over cash, so $7.15 million will go into state coffers. That's the amount the state would have needed to invest to cover annual payments over 30 years.

The winning ticket had the numbers 3, 9, 10, 12, 18 and 27.

At Hunter's Run convenience store in the village of 2,483 people, patrons were abuzz with theories about what happened.

"I think they didn't know they won and either threw it away or just lost it," said cashier Heather Litton.

Lottery Deputy Director Mardele Cohen said all signs point to just that.

The money likely will go into the lottery-profit education fund, which helps pay for primary and secondary education.

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