By Lindsay Doty
For two days, Craig J. from Plainfield was holding the winning Hoosier Lotto jackpot ticket for $15.8 million and had no clue.
The semi-truck driver of 25 years who cuts grass for extra money on the side was going about his daily routine before realizing he hit the big one.
“I cut grass on Sunday, worked Monday, and didn’t think to look at it until Tuesday,” said Craig. “The whole time it was in my wallet.”
He decided to bring the ticket into a gas station to be scanned. The register read, “Claim at Hoosier Lottery office in Indianapolis.”
He checked it again at home.
“I checked it and had to stumble for my glasses,” he said. “I just stared at those numbers.”
Then he stopped at a convenience store and requested the winning numbers be printed out — they matched again. At that point the winner called into the Hoosier Lottery and shared, “I think I won the lottery.”
His ticket matched all six numbers in the Aug. 14 Hoosier Lotto jackpot drawing. He claimed his prize with his family at the Hoosier Lottery Headquarters in downtown Indianapolis Aug. 20, opting for the cash payout of $9.8 million.
“I have carried that ticket with me ever since and did not let it out of my sight,” he said. “I’m overwhelmed, and the emotion has built up in my chest.”
The husband and father has always worked hard and tried to instill those values.
He says he still wants to make a few changes but isn’t quitting his side hustle.
“Retirement is in the plans. I am not a big spender. I may get myself a treat. I love cutting grass and will continue to do that,” he said. “After driving a semi for many years, I think I’d rather drive a school bus.”
The winning ticket was transacted at a gas station in Fort Wayne. Craig stopped along his truck route to redeem a free Hoosier Lotto ticket received from previous play — he hit the jackpot on the free ticket.
Seventy-six Hoosier Lotto drawings occurred since the last jackpot win back on Nov. 21 in Santa Claus, Ind. That jackpot was $2.2 million. The Hoosier Lotto jackpot was won five times in 2020.
Hoosier Lotto jackpot odds are 1 in 9,366,819.