Judy Juntunen

February 5, 2013


Lucky UP braves snow to claim Mega Millions jackpot!

It was a long, snowy trip, but Judy Juntunen is not complaining.

After all, who wouldn't make the drive if at the end of the road a $19 million Mega Millions jackpot was waiting?

Juntunen, the sole winner of the February 5 Mega Millions jackpot, is used to some serious winter weather. She traveled nearly 500 miles in 10 hours to Lansing from her home in the Upper Peninsula town of Atlantic Mine, which has about 210 inches of snow on the ground, to turn in the ticket and claim her prize.

"I always hoped I would win but I never thought I would win a prize like this," the lucky winner said.

Juntunen, who was born and raised in the UP, said her first purchase would be a new car, "one that will go through the snow better than what I have now."

Juntunen, Michigan's 16th multi-state jackpot winner, elected to take the $13.9 million cash value of the annuitized jackpot and after taxes, netted a tidy $9.8 million. Her ticket was a self-pick but the numbers had no special significance to her.

Juntunen first learned of her win when her granddaughter called after hearing that the winning ticket had been sold at Festival Foods, 47401 M 26, in neighboring Houghton. "I didn't believe it at first," she said. The winner's son, who accompanied her to Lansing, said his mom called him with the good news. "My mind was pretty well shot for the rest of the day. I didn't know whether to believe her or not."

Juntunen's daughter, who also traveled to Lansing, echoed the sentiment. "I thought she was joking."

Festival Foods, a general grocery/hardware store where Juntunen regularly shops, will receive a $50,000 bonus check to mark the sale.