LANSING – Friday the 13th never will be the same for a Waterford couple after they won half of a $42 million Mega Million jackpot.
Kevin Blake, 54, matched the five white balls and the Mega Ball drawn on Friday, Oct. 13 – 02-07-18-26-31, Mega Ball: 12 – to win a share of the jackpot. Blake bought his winning ticket earlier that day at the 7-Eleven, located at 3461 Airport Road in Waterford.
Blake’s winning ticket was one of two jackpot winning tickets bought for the Friday the 13 Mega Millions drawing. The other winning ticket was bought in Rhode Island. Each winner will receive $21 million.
“I’ve played the same numbers for years, it didn’t even occur to me that it was Friday the 13th” said Blake. “For just about every Mega Millions drawing for as long as I can remember, I’ve gone to the same 7-Eleven and bought $5 in Mega Millions tickets. I always play some family birthdays and then I get a couple of Easy Picks.”
Blake followed that same routine when he stopped at the 7-Eleven on Friday the 13th to buy his Mega Millions tickets for that evening’s drawing.
“I tucked the ticket in my wallet and didn’t give it another thought,” said Blake. “My wife and I went about our normal weekend routine. Little did we know that I had a ticket worth $21 million in my pocket the entire time.”
Blake’s wife, Stephanie, was the first to get excited about a jackpot winner from Waterford, but not because she thought her husband was the lucky winner.
“I was watching the news Saturday night after Kevin had gone to bed and they ran a story about a Mega Millions jackpot winner being sold in Waterford,” said Stephanie. “I thought: ‘How neat that someone from our town won!’ so, I went and woke Kevin up to tell him.
“As we started looking more into the story about the winner, we saw the ticket was bought at the 7-Eleven Kevin always goes to. That’s when we decided we’d better pull up the numbers.”
“We got online and pulled the numbers up,” said Blake. “Almost in unison, we both said:
‘Those are our birthdays!’ At that point, I looked at Stephanie and said: ‘High five! We won!’”
Winning a share of a $42 million Mega Millions jackpot led to a sleepless night for the Blakes.
“Neither one of us slept much on Saturday night,” said Blake. “The next morning I went for a walk to try and process what had happened the night before and Stephanie went to work.”
The Blakes chose to receive the $21 million jackpot as a one-time lump sum of about $13.1 million, rather than an annuity. After tax withholdings, they will receive about $9.3 million.
“This is an incredible amount of money, but we’re planning to be smart – not spontaneous – with it,” said Blake. “We’ve always lived within our means and had a comfortable life and this won’t change how we approach things.
“We’re both planning to continue working and will use this to pay off bills and then invest the remainder for our retirement. It’s great to know that the stress of worrying about our financial future is over.”
Blake’s jackpot win marks the fourth time since 2003 that a Michigan player has won the Mega Millions jackpot on Friday the 13th. The three previous jackpot winners were:
• Fred Topous, of Kent City, won a $57 million jackpot on June 13, 2008
• Kendall Warren, of Kalamazoo, won a $27 million jackpot on Friday, May 13, 2011
• Kelsey Zachow, of Port Huron, won the game’s $66 million jackpot on Friday, June 13, 2014
Zachow was the last Michigan player to win a Mega Millions jackpot. On April 22, 2005, a Port Huron couple, Ralph and Mary Stebbins, won a $208 million Mega Millions jackpot.
That jackpot holds the record for the largest Mega Millions prize ever won in Michigan.
The largest Lottery prize in state history was a $337 million Powerball jackpot won on Aug. 15, 2012 by Donald Lawson, of Lapeer.
Mega Millions drawings take place each Tuesday and Friday evening. Each Mega Millions play is only $1. For an additional $1 per play, players have the opportunity to add a “Megaplier” that can multiply non-jackpot prizes by up to five times. Mega Millions tickets are sold in 44 states, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.