|The Virginia Lottery presents Michael Donnelly with a giant check.|
Donnelly, a resident of Woodbridge, hadn’t intended to play Cash4Life. Instead, like millions of people across the nation, he was watching the Powerball jackpot rise to historic heights and was busy ringing up Powerball tickets for customers.
At one point, he accidentally hit the wrong button on the terminal and generated a Cash4Life ticket instead of selling a Powerball ticket that the customer wanted. So he ended up buying the $2 ticket himself.
That “mistake” won him the top prize. Donnelly’s ticket matched all six numbers in the Jan. 7 Cash4Life drawing. He had a choice of $1,000 per day for the rest of his life or a one-time cash option of $7 million before taxes. He chose the cash.
He didn’t realize he’d won until a few days later when a customer said she had heard on the news that a winning ticket had been sold at that grocery store, at 6351 Columbia Pike, Falls Church.
Donnelly checked the numbers and immediately called his wife, Michele, with the good news. “If that’s true, you have to come home because I’m about to have a heart attack!” she replied.
The Virginia Lottery presented him with the check on Jan. 29, and the Harris-Teeter received a $50,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. “It still hasn’t hit me yet,” Donnelly said.