- [S106] The Mountain Press, 18 Jul 2004.
Thursday was supposed to be a normal, routine day for Gatlinburg Police Officer Chuck Reagan - until he walked into the Stop and Save Citgo Market on Highway 321 in Gatlinburg.
Reagan, who had just gotten off duty, walked into the store to cash in some lottery tickets and wound up walking out more than $77,000 richer by playing the "Sapphire Blue Sevens" scratch-off game.
Having already won a total of $25 in previous tickets through the "Jumbo Books" game (one winning ticket worth $20 and another worth $5), Reagan cashed in the $5 winning ticket and bought another and lost. He also had a $5 bill in his pocket, with which he played another ticket and lost.
Reagan said he wondered if he should break a $20 bill he had and try his luck once more. He said the clerk told him not to do it, but he didn't listen. He broke the $20, played the "Sapphire Blue Sevens" and won a prize of $77,777.
"I had to double check the lines and make sure I won," said Reagan, a 13-year veteran of the Gatlinburg Police Department. "When I saw I won, I ran out of the store screaming," he laughed.
The first person Reagan called was his wife, Brandi, who has been the circulation director at The Mountain Press for a year and a half and is due to give birth to their first child any day now.
"I thought he was lying," said Brandi, when told of the jackpot her husband won. "I better have been the first person he called!" she laughed.
"I told her she could now take off as long as she needs to," said Reagan, referring to after the baby arrives.
After claiming the prize, Reagan said that the first thing they will do is pay taxes on it, and they expect to have a little less than $50,000 to take home if they get the money in one lump sum. They will take the winnings and put most of it into a certificate of deposit (CD), plus pay bills and get necessities for the baby.
"I always told her I would win the lottery one day," said Reagan. "She always made fun of me."
The jackpot could not have come at a better time, as Brandi celebrates her 30th birthday today, along with the impending arrival of their child.
"Life is good," Brandi said with a big smile. "It was great before; now it's better."
Local couple wins big in lottery
- [S84] E-Mail, Brandi Reagan [email@example.com], 30 May 2008.