Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Lottery

Lottery winner Jeffery Love and his wife, Vickie.

An Elk River man is the winner of a $21.6 million lottery jackpot.

Jeffery Love’s winning Lotto America ticket was in the glove box of his car until Friday morning. That’s when Love said that he stopped at a lottery retailer and scanned his ticket. The scanner message instructed him to contact the Minnesota Lottery to claim the prize.

“I thought, ‘OK, this is big. Let me check the numbers on my phone.’ When I compared the winning numbers to my ticket, they matched exactly. I called Vickie [his wife] and said, ‘We have a situation.’”

“I didn’t trust my eyes, I wanted to have Vickie look at it,” said Love in a press release from the Minnesota Lottery.

He initially called in to work and told them he would “be a little late.” It wasn’t long before he called back and let them know that he wouldn’t be in at all Friday.

After seeing the ticket and confirming the winning numbers “8 or 10 times,” Vickie Love also told her employer that she needed the day off.

Love’s ticket matched all five winning numbers, plus the Star Ball drawn on July 10 to win the jackpot.

It has long been one of Love’s dreams to visit the Minnesota Lottery office in Roseville and claim a big prize.

“I drive by the lottery office every day on my way to work and always say, ‘One day … one day,’” Jeffery Love said.

Holiday Stationstore 395, located at 14075 Ramsey Blvd. in Ramsey, sold the winning ticket.

The winner had one year from the date of the drawing to claim the prize and 60 days from the date that they claim the prize to elect either the annuity option or the cash option.

The $21.6 million estimated annuity jackpot would be paid in 30 graduated payments over 29 years. The $14.2 million estimated cash option would be paid as a lump-sum, minus required withholdings. The winner would receive approximately $9.8 million after state and federal required tax withholdings, according to the Minnesota Lottery.

The Lotto America jackpot has been won three times since the game began on Nov. 12, 2017. This is Minnesota’s second Lotto America jackpot win. The Kujava family, of Badger, shared a $22.8 million jackpot won on March 14, 2018.

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