An Army soldier based in Fort Drum has won a $5 million New York Lottery jackpot.
The state lottery announced Tuesday that 36 year old Jesse Vonderhorst bought the winning scratch-off ticket at the Sunoco on Factory Street in Watertown.
Lottery officials said there will be no formal check presentation because Vonderhorst is deploying from Fort Drum on Wednesday. They didn't know where he was going.
Fort Drum denied that Vonderhorst was being deployed. Officials said he was taking part in an off-installation mission within New York state.
Lottery officials said Vonderhorst, who's from Vancouver, Washington, stopped to gas up his car at the Sunoco station and decided to try his luck on a New York Lottery scratch-off ticket.
He chose a Wild Bonanza Multiplier ticket and scratched it off as soon as he got back to his car.
The single $25 ticket contained the winning combination earning Vonderhorst a $5 million payday.
"I like to play the higher-priced tickets," Vonderhorst said. "I had played enough of the $30 tickets. The $25 ticket had recently had a local winner so I chose the Wild Bonanza Multiplier. I hadn't played it in a while so I took a chance."
Vonderhorst will receive his prize as a one-time lump-sum payment, netting him $3,309,000 after required withholdings.
"I was in shock when I saw the $5,000,000 prize. I went straight home and showed my wife. She asked me where I got the fake ticket," he joked.
Vonderhorst plans to use the winnings to help out his three daughters and plan a family vacation.
"I'm thinking about taking them to Disney."
(Click to display full-size in gallery)