A LeClaire woman won a $300,000 lottery prize in a scratch game.
Ann M. Kirby took home the third of 10 top prizes in the Iowa Lottery's "Colossal Crossword" game.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," she said Monday as she claimed her prize at lottery headquarters in Clive. "This is very shocking for me to win this."
A fortuitous set of circumstances paved the way to her win. She had planned to stop at another convenience store to redeem several scratch tickets, but didn't because the parking lot was full.
Kirby, 52, opted instead for the Casey's in LeClaire, and zeroed in on a Colossal Crossword ticket after studying the "remaining prizes" page at ialottery.com. Colossal Crossword offers four puzzles on each ticket.
"I did the first crossword puzzle on the left and had, like, one word, and I thought, 'Oh, this ticket's no good,'" she said with a laugh.
Her luck changed with the second puzzle.
"I did check five words, so I knew I got my $30 back. Then I kept finding more and more," she said. "I kept double-checking my letters to make sure I didn't make a mistake."
Kirby, who works in accounting, returned to the store with Brian, her husband of 30 years, to verify the winning ticket.
"My heart was beating a mile a minute," she said. "I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I just kept thinking, 'This can’t be real.' Once we’re here now, it's setting in a little bit.”
They plan to save the winnings for retirement.
Colossal Crossword is the Iowa Lottery's second-ever $30 scratch game.
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