Long-Time Couple Moves Up Marriage Plans After Winning $6.5mil

Engagement Ring Purchased Before 1st of 26 Lotto Checks Arrives

Jan Willis and Darrell Vincent with their oversized Lotto check.

Jan Willis and Darrell Vincent with their oversized Lotto check.

For Immediate Release Contact: Mike Lang 217-524-5158

Roscoe, IL—May 7, 2013 —Money can’t buy love--but winning the Lottery can speed up an already-planned marriage! Jan Willis and Darrell Vincent have enjoyed a modern, long-distance romance for 7 years. The two-household couple (he lives in St. Charles, she in Byron) has long planned to marry when the time was right. Now, thanks to winning $6.5 million in Lotto, their wedding timetable is on the fast track.

“After dating for a year, we both knew we would eventually get married—we just didn’t know when,” said Jan. “Winning the Lottery will make that happen much more quickly.”

Darrell purchased a diamond engagement ring two weeks ago, after he and Jan learned they had won a $6.5 million Lotto prize from the August 25, 2012 drawing. The winning ticket went unclaimed for nearly 8 months, until Jan visited the Lottery’s website on April 8, 2013 to check the numbers from a stack of old tickets the couple had previously purchased. The second ticket she checked was a $6.5 million winner. “I was flabbergasted,” she said of the win.

Jan took a photo of the ticket and sent it to Darrell, who was at work on April 8. He then double-checked the winning numbers from the Lottery’s website, and by calling the Lottery’s toll-free player hotline. It wasn’t until then that they realized they were sole winners of a $6.5 million prize. “It was an unbelievable feeling,” he said.

Jan and Darrell are both 52. They both have two adult children from previous marriages. They were introduced to each other by a mutual friend some seven years ago, and have been going steady ever since. Today, they spend most weekends together, at times traveling to area drag races, a long-standing hobby that Darrell enjoys with his son.

After the marriage—which is slated for this fall—Darrell and Jan said they will maintain their two households, at least for a couple years until Darrell can retire from his job (he performs electrical and water meter maintenance for the City of St. Charles, and is required to live in the city to keep his job). Jan plans to keep her insurance agent job, at least for now.

Jan and Darrell’s future plans for the Lottery windfall include providing a helping hand to their four children. In addition, Jan said she will pay the rent for her 83-year-old mother, who likes to travel and was on a 2-week “road-trip” with a close friend when Jan called and told her mom about the win. Darrell said buying Jan’s engagement ring was the first priority. Beyond that, he said he will use part of the money to build a spare engine for the 1967 Chevy Camaro he and son use for drag racing.

“We wish Jan and Darrell all the best, as they prepare to exchange their wedding vows this fall,” said Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones. “I hope they’ll remember to send us a honeymoon photo, once they decide on their destination.”

Jones presented an oversized, commemorative check today to Jan Willis and Darrell Vincent at the Roscoe Road Ranger where Jan bought the ticket last summer. The lucky Road Ranger store (9095 N. Second St) has already received a $65,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Jan and Darrell will receive their $6.5 million prize in 26 annual payments of $250,000. The first payment will arrive in about 2 weeks. Each payment will be for $175,00 after required withholding.


About Illinois Lottery

Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $20 billion to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes like Illinois Veterans, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for Mega Millions, Powerball and Lotto at Players must be at least 18 years old.