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Winfield man, Burlington woman claim $1 million on same day

Betty Downs, Mike Hartman

Drawing Date: 11/20/2015

November 23, 2015 - Talk about a lucky streak in southeast Iowa! Two winners of $1 million prizes - from neighboring counties, no less - both claimed their winnings Monday.

Betty Downs of Burlington was the first to arrive, but shortly after she got to the lottery, Mike Hartman from Winfield came in with his own winning ticket. He joked that if they had known, they could have carpooled.

Downs, 75, who is retired, won her $1 million prize in the Mega Millions drawing on Nov. 10, but didn't realize she’d won a prize until she checked her ticket on Friday. Hartman, 49, a Marine Corps veteran who now drives a truck and has his own business, won his big prize in Friday’s drawing. They both won with easy-pick tickets, but their reactions were very different.

Downs said when she checked her ticket at a local convenience store, she was convinced that the lottery machine was broken and was giving her incorrect information.

“I said, ‘I don’t think this machine is working right,’” Downs recalled. “So I had the girl working behind the counter check it again. Her jaw hit the floor.”

Hartman, meantime, was so excited, he checked his ticket four times in a row so he could take a picture on his phone of the message it displayed showing that he had won a $1 million prize. Then he sent a text to his wife.

“I told her we were a little bit richer,” he said.

Downs bought her winning ticket at the River Mart convenience store, 2107 Agency St. in Burlington, Iowa, while Hartman hit big with a ticket he bought at the Countreestore, 2455 120th St. in Winfield. Both businesses will receive a $1,000 bonus from the lottery for selling a $1 million-winning ticket.

Six tickets purchased in Iowa have now won $1 million prizes in 2015.

Hartman and Downs both said that they plan to use their winnings wisely - Hartman to plan for retirement and Downs to pay bills and help her great-granddaughter with college expenses.

Downs predicts folks in southeast Iowa just may believe in lottery luck.

“I’ll bet you’ve got people down there who will buy who don’t usually,” she said.