ROANOKE, Va. – Carlton Smith received quite the early Christmas present this week.
To understand what makes this gift so special, we need to rewind a bit.
On June 21, the night drawing of the Virginia Lottery’s Cash 5 had a ticket that matched all five numbers; however, months and months passed and no one claimed the ticket.
By law, winning tickets in Virginia expire 180 days after the drawing, meaning the ticket was set to expire at the close of business on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
Smith apparently had the ticket in a drawer these past few months, not realizing it was a winner. His cousin told him he’d heard about an unclaimed winning ticket and said, “I have a feeling it’s you.”
That’s when Smith checked the winning numbers and declared, “I have the winning ticket right here, buddy!”
So on Monday, with just two days to go before it expired, Smith and his dog Zeus walked into the Virginia Lottery Customer Service Center in Roanoke with the winning ticket.
Smith bought his ticket at Smokers Choice, at 3515 Franklin Road SW in Roanoke.
“It really didn’t shock me at first,” Smith replied when asked how it felt to discover he had the winning ticket.
Cash 5 drawings are held daily at 1:59 p.m. and 11 p.m. The odds of winning the $100,000 top prize are 1 in 278,256.