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story.lead_photo.caption Timothy Burdess and Christina Vandiver have claimed a $3 million lottery ticket purchased in Arkansas. - Photo by Arkansas Scholarship Lottery

An Arkansas couple claimed a $3 million lottery prize Monday afternoon, lottery officials said.

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery announced the winners — Timothy Burdess and Christina Vandiver of Sheridan — on Twitter about 4:15 p.m.

The pair told officials they didn't know they had won until about 7 p.m. Sunday.

“I was broke — going through my change looking for enough quarters to buy some snuff at the Valero station,” Burdess said in a statement. “While I was there, I scanned my ticket and discovered it was a big winner.”

According to a news release, Burdess was sick Friday, so he asked Vandiver to buy him a ticket on her way home from work. When she got to the Corner Store at 307 N. Rock St., she wasn't sure if she was supposed to purchase Powerball or Mega Millions, so she bought one ticket for each game.

It paid off.

The ticket for Friday night's drawing matched all five white ball numbers — 4, 24, 46, 61 and 70 — and had the Megaplier, which turned a $1 million prize to $3 million. Officials said the ticket did not match the Megaball number of 7, which would have netted the couple the $548 million jackpot.

The last time anyone in the country won the Mega Millions jackpot was July 24, when a group from California claimed a $543 million prize, the Associated Press reported. The jackpot has risen to $644 million for Tuesday night's drawing, which is the fourth largest ever.

According to the state lottery's website, Mega Millions tickets cost $2 each, and the Megaplier option costs $1.

Burdess and Vandiver, who each have 12-year-old sons who are autistic, met each other when the boys were in the same class, the news release states. The couple plans to use the prize to create trust funds for their children and to buy a house.

Bishop Woosley, Arkansas Scholarship Lottery director, said it is the fourth-highest lottery prize ever won in the state.

Also Monday, a central Arkansas man claimed a $100,000 prize from a scratch-off ticket, officials said.

Gary Higginbotham, 68, of Bryant bought the $5 Cash Bonus ticket at Sha Food Mart, 311 S. Reynolds Road in Bryant., according to a spokeswoman.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette report Jaime Dunaway contributed to this story.


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  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    October 15, 2018 at 2:40 p.m.

    good grief reporters are getting so lazy. really ? a story about NOT winning a lottery. oh please, get away from your desks and the AP wire and do a little investigating
    for example :why are there no PSA's on t.v encouraging people to exercise and eat right instead of letting their bodies get sick and require drugs ? why is big pharma allowed to advertise their prescription drugs to the general public when we can't go to a store and buy them ?

  • MaxCady
    October 15, 2018 at 3:14 p.m.

    Panem et circenses, OBOXER, Panem et circenses.

  • HarleyOwner
    October 15, 2018 at 6 p.m.

    I wonder if they picked their numbers or was it a quick pick ticket?

  • AuntPetunia
    October 15, 2018 at 6:43 p.m.

    If you get $3 million for “losing” the lottery, that’s newsworthy

  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    October 15, 2018 at 7:29 p.m.

    max you might notice the TIME I made my comment compared to the actual TIME they announced a winner. when i write my comment it was a story with NO winner

  • MaxCady
    October 15, 2018 at 7:38 p.m.

    Huh? that story was posted at 11:29 a.m. Your post was at 2:40 p.m. Harley, sounds like a quick pick and she only bought one!!

  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    October 15, 2018 at 7:54 p.m.

    max read the story again. the ORIGINAL story I responded to was this morning however. they didn't announce the winner till 4:15 but if i am reading that first paragraph wrong I honestly apologize.

  • Coach1313
    October 16, 2018 at 9:28 a.m.

    Congratulations to them! What a blessing for their sons.

  • abb
    October 16, 2018 at 10:38 a.m.

    They are NOT getting $3,000,000.00. Now considered "rich" they are in the 37% income bracket. Add the asinine Obamacare income tax their federal tax rate is 40.4%. Add AR 7% state income tax, and their after tax NET take home pay is approx. $1,578,000.00.

    I wouldn't buy anything but pay off any debt above 5%, and then invest in 4% or higher tax free AR school bonds (Aa2 with state aid withholding). If they are lucky enough to buy 1.5mm of 4% bonds, their annual tax free income for the next 20+ years would be approx. $60,000.00 (equivalent to ~$120,000.00 taxable income). At the end of the call/maturity date, they still have their $1,500,000.00 to reinvest at a higher coupon as rates rise. Hopefully they have a nice lunch with a CPA, a trust attorney, and a broker today.

  • GeneralMac
    October 16, 2018 at 10:49 a.m.

    "and had the megaplier"

    That extra $1 spent was worth an additional #2 MILLION more.

    For an additional $1, their prize jumped from $1 Million to $3 Million.