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North Carolina man almost loses winning lottery ticket to wind

By Ben Hooper
A North Carolina man said the wind carried off some of his lottery tickets, but left behind a $489,211 jackpot winner. Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Education Lottery
A North Carolina man said the wind carried off some of his lottery tickets, but left behind a $489,211 jackpot winner. Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Education Lottery

April 16 (UPI) -- A North Carolina man said his $489,211 lottery jackpot almost never arrived when a strong gust of wind nearly blew his ticket away.

John Hepburn of Fayetteville told North Carolina Education Lottery officials he stashed the Cash 5 ticket he bought from the Quick Stop in Raeford with his collection of lottery tickets.

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"Whenever I get my tickets, I put them in my car door," Hepburn said. "I don't check them for a few days. Sometimes they blow away when I open the car door."

Hepburn said his ticket for Friday's drawing was in his car door when he opened it and a strong gust of wind struck.

"I put the ticket where I always put them," Hepburn said. "A few of my tickets blew out of the car the next day, so I figured I should probably check the other ones and see if I won anything."

One of the tickets to survive the gust, Hepburn's Cash 5 ticket, turned out to be a $489,211 winner.

"My son had to help me figure out how much I won. I couldn't believe it when he told me," Hepburn said.

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He said he plans to use his winnings to do something nice for his grandchildren and pay off his mortgage.

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