ST. CHARLES – A St. Charles man said he is moving up his wedding date after he and his fiancée won a $6.5 million Lotto jackpot, according to a news release issued by the Illinois Lottery.
Darrell Vincent bought a diamond engagement week two weeks ago, after he and Jan Willis learned they won the prize from the Aug. 25 drawing. The prize went unclaimed until April 8, when Willis visited the Illinois Lottery's website to check numbers from old tickets they had previously purchased, the release stated.
She took a photo of the ticket and sent it to Vincent, who was at work. He double-checked the winning numbers and called the lottery hotline. They then learned they were the sole winners of the prize.
"It was an unbelievable feeling," Vincent said in the release. They purchased the ticket at a Road Ranger gas station in Roscoe. The store receives a $65,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
Vincent and Willis had been dating for seven years. He lives in St. Charles, and she lives in Byron.
"After dating for a year, we both knew we would eventually get married – we just didn't know when," Willis said in the release. “Winning the Lottery will make that happen much more quickly.”
According to the release, they were introduced to each other by a mutual friend some seven years ago, and have been going steady ever since. Today, they spend most weekends together, at times traveling to area drag races, a long-standing hobby that Vincent enjoys with his son.
After the marriage – which is slated for this fall – they said they will maintain their two households, at least for a couple years until Vincent can retire from his job. (He performs electrical and water meter maintenance for the city of St. Charles and is required to live in the city to keep his job.) Willis plans to keep her insurance agent job, at least for now, the release states.
Vincent said buying Willis’s engagement ring was his first priority. Beyond that, he said, he will use part of the money to build a spare engine for the 1967 Chevy Camaro he and his son use for drag racing, the release states.
“We wish Jan and Darrell all the best, as they prepare to exchange their wedding vows this fall,” Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones said in the release. “I hope they’ll remember to send us a honeymoon photo, once they decide on their destination."