EFFINGHAM — A long stream of false starts, long lines and sudden stops rarely ends in more than frustration, much less a payday.
Even rarer, it can end in enough money to buy a house.
For truck driver Joseph Brinkley, 43, of Pittsburgh, that's just what happened five days before Christmas, as he pulled his truck into Effingham hoping to rest up and meet friends before he was scheduled for a delivery in Chicago the next day. After being delayed on a delivery in St. Louis and needing to pick up an airbrush for his truck, he decided to pull into the Travel Centers of America on West Evergreen Avenue to pick up a couple of lottery tickets.
Rather than stand in line behind a group of bus travelers, Brinkley said he walked straight to the lotto machine, picked up a handful of tickets and went back into his truck. In the dark, sitting next to his dog, he began to scratch tickets off with a coin, barely able to see the results.
"I think about two of the four I bought were winners," he said. "Then I picked up the next one and something told me to take it really slow."
Brinkley said he dragged his coin across the patch, barely able to make out more than a handful of zeroes, he raised the ticket up to the light and tried to make out what he'd won. Was it two, three, four, or five zeroes? He said he couldn't tell and could barely control himself as he read that he had just won $200,000 on a $5 Reindeer Riches ticket.
For more of the story, see Monday's print and e-editions.