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Lady luck strikes twice for Ga. man

/ Source: staff and news service reports

A Georgia man’s trip to a grocery store yielded not one, but two winning tickets for a $70 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot.

THE JACKPOT is good for a cash-option prize of $26.6 million before taxes, lottery officials said.

Stephen Cooke, a 60-year-old school bus driver, said he did not realize until he went to claim the prize that he had bought two sets of winning numbers for Tuesday’s drawing.

“When I saw that one of my three tickets was a winner, I was in shock,” said Cooke, who plans to use his winnings to buy a cabin on a lake and spend time fishing. “I didn’t even think to check my other tickets.”

However, he was persuaded to check his other tickets by lottery officials, who knew two winning tickets were purchased at the same time. “The Georgia Lottery people kept querying me about what place I bought my ticket and what time,” Cooke told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I thought that was strange. I already had a winner.”

On returning home, accompanied by a lottery security official, Cooke found the other jackpot ticket as well as two $150 winning tickets, the newspaper reported.

At this stage, it didn’t matter to the unmarried Cooke. It’s already astronomical,” he told the AJC. “I hope I’ll never spend $13 million. That’s more money than I need.”

The winning numbers were 2-5-17-21-22, with a Mega Ball number 43. The other Mega Millions ticket was purchased in Portage, Mich.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.