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Winners Claim $39.8 Million Prize With Mangled Ticket

July 20, 1989

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) _ Days after the Lotto America numbers were drawn for a $39.8 million jackpot, three Connecticut residents knew they had the winning ticket but thought it was so badly damaged it might be rejected.

Two of the three tickets purchased by Sheila E. Phillips, her boyfriend, George H. Brown, and George Mages, were destroyed when a can of whipped cream exploded in the cooler the ticket was sitting in. Only the winning ticket survived.

″The ticket was mangled and we all said ’Gee, I wonder if they’re going to take the ticket?‴ said Brown, 46, of Montville, Conn. All three are managers at the General Dynamics Electric Boat division in Groton, Conn.

Their numbers were drawn Saturday in the lottery, which is played in six states and the District of Columbia. The trio turned the ticket in Wednesday to the Rhode Island Lottery Commission to claim the prize.

The three were visiting friends in West Warwick, R.I., when they bought tickets at Haxton’s Package Store shortly before the numbers were drawn Saturday night.

Phillips found out Monday night she had the winning numbers, but the trio waited until Wednesday to turn in the ticket so they could bring a lawyer along.

The prize was the largest in Lotto America history and the fourth largest lottery jackpot won in the United States on a single ticket, according to lottery executive director Peter J. O’Connell.

Each of the three will receive $664,333 annually for the next 20 years. They said they will quit their jobs.

States participating in Lotto America are Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oregon, Rhode Island, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

None of the three had immediate plans for their share of the fortune.

In other lotteries:

-Nine weeks of waiting ended in Pennsylvania when lottery officials announced Wednesday that two winning tickets had been sold for a Super 7 jackpot worth at least $60 million.

The prize is the second largest in the state lottery’s history and the fourth largest nationwide.

-Two players correctly picked all six numbers in the California Lottery’s ″Lotto 6-49″ game held Wednesday night and will split an $11.03 million jackpot, state lottery officials said.

The two winners will take home $5,515,173 each.

The winners in Pennsylvania and California have not been identified.

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