Lottery winner drowns before he can collect winnings

Michigan gambler was not able to collect prize before accident due to lottery rules.


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Gregory Jarvis
Gregory Jarvis with his winning ticket

Talk about bad luck!

A man scored a big lottery win, only to drown with the ticket in his wallet before he was able to cash it.

Gregory Jarvis, 57, of Michigan was at the Blue Water Inn in Caseville on Sept. 13 when he played the Club Keno add-on game The Jack — and hit the jackpot, according to local news station WJRT. His win was worth approximately $45,000.

Dawn Talaski, an owner of the establishment, told the outlet that Jarvis was a “very nice guy” who was a regular customer at the place.

“Somebody said someone just won The Jack and he said, ‘Great,’ and someone asked him, ‘Was it you?’ and it was, so he was super excited,” Talaski added.

She said that Jarvis returned to the inn almost a week later and bought rounds of drinks, but had still not cashed his winning ticket because he didn’t have the proper documentation.

“He couldn’t cash it because he didn’t have a Social Security card at all, it wasn’t any good, so he applied for a new one,” she told WJRT.

The business owner said she became concerned when Jarvis didn’t show up again as usual.

“Sometimes he’s up north working, he wasn’t here all week and we thought something is wrong,” she said, adding that Jarvis’ boss later showed up at the bar to say he had not arrived at work.

On Friday, a resident along a private beach in the small Huron County city reported to police that a body had washed ashore near a boat, which was determined to belong to Jarvis.

“We are thinking that he was tying up his boat, slipped and fell, hit his head, and that’s where he ended up in the water,” Police Chief Kyle Romzek told WJRT. “No foul play suspected.”

An autopsy determined that Jarvis drowned after striking his head.

“He was planning to take that money and go see his sister and his dad in North Carolina,” Talaski said.

The winning ticket has been handed over to Jarvis’ relatives.

Winners of prizes of more than $600 have to present a photo ID and their Social Security card collect their winnings, according to the Michigan Lottery Commission.

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