March 20, 2014 – Along with the two winners who split Tuesday’s $414 million Mega Millions jackpot there were another eight second-prize, $1 million winning tickets around the country. Today in Tallahassee, two of those $1 million prizes were claimed.
The first ticket belonged to a group of five co-workers who “chipped in a few quarters” to buy their very first Mega Millions ticket as a group.
Rhonda Denis, a 51-year-old Vero Beach resident, claimed the prize as the group’s representative Thursday morning, telling lottery officials that the whole group was still in shock over their beginner’s luck.
Denis said the lucky group of five had agreed to play together again.
Denis’ was the first of two big checks the Florida Lottery would write Thursday. Shortly after announcing that Denis and her co-workers had collected their prize, another new millionaire strolled through the door.
Gary Shepherd could have been a third jackpot winner in Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing. Like Denis and six other second-prize winners across the country, 62-year-old Shepherd missed just the Mega Ball in Tuesday’s drawing.
But the Mega Ball is the only number Shepherd ever changes. He was able to match the first five numbers by simply playing his numbers – the same five he plays every time. For the sixth number – the Mega Ball – Shepherd alternates between the number 12 and the number 7.
Tuesday’s winning numbers were 11, 19, 24, 33, 51 and the Mega Ball was 7. Shepherd’s Mega Ball choice was 12 Tuesday night; just one number kept him from his share of the $414 million jackpot.