Friday the 13th was a mega lucky day for Kelsey Zachow.
But for 11 days, the 24-year-old Port Huron resident didn't know she had the winning $66-million Mega Millions lottery ticket — purchased June 13 at Sonny's Mart in Mt. Clemens — in her purse.
On June 24, the Mt. Clemens native and twice weekly lottery player checked her tickets at a gas station near her home. The clerk kept telling her, "You won big."
"I jumped in my car and locked the door. I couldn't breathe," Zachow said Thursday at a news conference at the Michigan Lottery regional office claim center in Sterling Heights. "I pulled in the driveway (at home) and got out screaming. My boyfriend thought I was in a car accident."
Instead, she's financially set for the rest of her life and doesn't have to work part-time as a medical assistant at a Macomb County hospital or as a part-time bartender at Little Lorraine's in Mt. Clemens.
Zachow is taking the money in a lump sum, which is nearly $27 million after taxes.
She plans to have the house of her dreams in the St. Clair County area, provide college money for the young children in her family, help relatives, take vacations (possibly Ireland, Europe and the Caribbean), go on a few shopping sprees and buy cars.
Next Monday, she said, she'll probably shop for an SUV. Then it's off to get an electric-blue Mustang GT convertible with dual exhaust and leather seats.
Zachow has a 7-month-old son, Benjamin Bartlett. Her boyfriend has a daughter, Evelyn Bartlett, 5. Zachow also has a brother, Gus Schmidlin, who is almost 2.
Sonny's Mart on Market Street, a lottery retailer since 2006, is to receive $50,000 for selling the winning ticket, lottery officials said. Zachow's prize is the largest won by a Michigan Lottery player on a Friday the 13th, they said.
Zachow said she has spent $5 every Tuesday and Friday for five years on the lottery.
On her way to work June 13, she bought five Mega Millions plays, four with her regular numbers and one easy pick. Her easy pick numbers of 07-38-46-49-56 and Gold Mega Ball of 01 matched the Mega Millions numbers drawn that night.
When she realized nearly two weeks later that she had won, the ticket went from her purse into a safe at a relative's house. She waited until Monday to turn in the winning ticket after talking with a lawyer and financial adviser.
Zachow said the most cash she had won prior to the June 13 prize was $50.
Now she can take care of her children and family, have a house with acreage and animals and possibly open a no-kill animal shelter.
Her boyfriend of three years, Billy Bartlett, 26, said she came barreling home "at 100 m.p.h." and screamed, "We won!"
After some checking, he said, "my jaw dropped to the floor."
Both Zachow and Bartlett, who has been laid off from construction work for about a year, said life hasn't changed since they realized Zachow won big.
Zachow said she may get the prize money this week.
"Then," she joked with reporters and family members, "people may start treating me differently."
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Thanks to Win$500Quick for the tip.