45 Local Workers To Claim Record Jackpot

NORTH CANTON, Ohio (AP) - At least one of the 45 Hoover Co. employees who claim to have the winning ticket to the state-record $75 million lottery jackpot showed up at work on Monday morning.

"I think I'm still in a dream," Terrie Ross told The (Canton) Repository. "It's a shock to the system, but a good shock."

Hoover spokeswoman Jacquelyn Love confirmed Sunday that the employees have the ticket, but said she could not release the winners' names.

The winners asked for the cash option, which means they'll share $22.9 million after federal and state taxes if the ticket is confirmed as the winner. Split by 45, that's about $509,000 apiece.

Only one ticket had all six numbers for the Super Lotto Plus jackpot Saturday night, Ohio Lottery spokeswoman Mardele Cohen said.

"No one from the commission has seen the ticket yet, but I talked to Ms. Ross, and I have no reason to believe they don't have it," Cohen said. "We know they purchased it from the right outlet."

Lottery Director Dennis Kennedy and his staff will travel to Woodlawn Market in Canton on Monday to present a $75,000 check to its owner, Ken Wilcox, for selling the winning ticket.

Then, lottery officials will meet with the 45 Hoover employees, check the ticket, and, if it has the numbers 17, 25, 29, 31, 32, 35, validate it as the winner.

Woodlawn Market manager Peggy Martin, 39, of Canton, said Sunday she had not heard from any of the winners, but she did remember selling the winning ticket to the workers.

Martin said Saturday that she's been waiting to sell the winning ticket for the 13 years she's worked at the convenience store.

"I don't think anybody really goes into it thinking they're actually going to win," she said, crying. "Maybe they think they'll win something, but the big one, nah. But that's what we always tell everyone. Someone has to win it, some regular person like all of us."

Ross already has plans for her cut of the jackpot. She said she has four children and has been struggling financially since her divorce in October.

"He pretty much left me with everything, including $40,000 in bills," she said. "I had to refinance the house with a consolidation loan, and I owe about $127,000 now."

Ross said she'll pay off the mortgage, put money away for college for three of her children, and maybe take an Alaskan cruise.

Sales for the game were more than $19 million, and players who won prizes short of the jackpot shared nearly $36 million.

The size of the jackpot approached the levels lottery players will see routinely next month when Ohio joins a multistate game.

On May 15, Ohio players for the first time can try The Big Game multistate lottery's Mega Millions game, which will have a minimum jackpot of $10 million, average jackpots of $80 million and a potential jackpot of more than $500 million.

Super Lotto Plus jackpots have averaged about $17 million this year.

There had been 13 consecutive Super Lotto drawings without a jackpot winner, allowing the top prize to grow.

The odds of winning the jackpot with the correct combination out of a possible 49 numbers are one in 13.9 million.

The previous top Ohio Lottery jackpots were $56 million on Wednesday, when no winning tickets were sold, and $54 million last July, when two winning tickets were sold.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)