'Regular Joe' wins biggest Illinois lottery jackpot

Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:39pm EST
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By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A 70-year-old retired Chicago-area man who described himself as a "regular Joe" will take home about $127 million after winning what lottery officials said on Tuesday was the biggest Illinois lottery jackpot.

Jesus Davila Jr. of suburban Naperville was handed a gigantic ceremonial check from the Jan. 16 Mega Millions drawing in an event broadcast on local television.

"You can't win if you don't play. I'm just a regular Joe, and I played," said Davila, a father of four and grandfather of four.

The Jan. 16 jackpot was $265 million if taken as an annuity, but Davila will take a one-time cash payment option, which after taxes totals about $127 million, the Illinois Lottery said.

Davila, a former professional driver, bought the winning ticket at Bucky's Express convenience store in Glendale Heights, another Chicago suburb. The store will get a $500,000 prize for selling the ticket.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Davila moved to the United States at the age of 6, according to a statement from the Lottery.

He was watching the numbers announced on the television at home and thought he had matched only the first five numbers on his single ticket and would get $1 million.

But his son rechecked and found all six numbers were matching.   Continued...