ALBUQUERQUE – Take it from Russell “Rusty” Dion of Rio Rancho. A truck’s sun visor is no place to leave a New Mexico Lottery ticket, even if you don’t know that it’s worth $50,000.
“I just so glad it didn’t fade.” Dion said.
Above: Russell “Rusty” Dion, winner of $50,000 Roadrunner Cash™ prize
On his way home from work yesterday, Dion stopped at a gas station and grabbed two tickets for the Roadrunner Cash™ game from his truck’s sun visor. One ticket was from a drawing last week and it paid a $2 prize. The other ticket was from the Jan. 8 drawing.
“The clerk said, ‘You must have won something big,’” Dion recalled for New Mexico Lottery officials today.
After scanning the nearly three-month-old ticket through the lottery’s sales equipment, the clerk handed it back to Dion with a receipt telling him to claim his prize at the lottery.
Before driving home to tell his wife, Gina, Dion called the lottery to check the jackpot amount for the Jan. 8 drawing.
“He handed me a receipt and in shaky little handwriting, it read $50K,” Gina Dion said. “We did the happy dance.”
On Monday, the New Mexico Lottery announced that the player with a ticket worth $50,000 from the Jan. 8 Roadrunner Cash game had until April 8 to claim the prize or it would expire. Dion hadn’t heard the news.
“It was pure coincidence that I checked that ticket,” he said.
Knowing that he was only days away from losing a five-figure prize, Dion said he’s learned his lesson.
“Check your tickets daily,” he said.
Dion, who said he plans to set the prize aside for retirement, bought his lucky ticket at Circle K
No. 6284 located at 901 36th Place SE in Rio Rancho. For selling a winning ticket for a Roadrunner Cash jackpot, the Circle K store is eligible for a $1,000 bonus from the New Mexico Lottery.
This is not the Dions’ first experience as lottery winners. Their four daughters all graduated from college, but three attended in-state universities on Legislative Lottery Scholarships.
“The scholarship is amazing,” Gina Dion said.
Legislative Lottery Scholarships
Since 1996, the lottery has raised $596.4 million for education and more than 90,000 students have attended college on Legislative Lottery Scholarships.
More information about Legislative Lottery Scholarships is available at www.nmlottery.com.
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