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Lottery jackpot winner won't be at work 'today, tomorrow or ever'

Lifestyle and LeisureMega Millions Lottery

Steve Tran went days without knowing that he was the second of two winning Mega Millions jackpot ticket holders.

The Northern California resident had put the winning ticket, purchased in San Jose on Dec. 17 during a delivery route that included multiple cities, in a drawer. There it remained until he recently returned from vacation, lottery officials said Friday.

Then he "woke up in the middle of the night" and remembered: "I think I went to San Jose," according to the account provided by California Lottery officials.

At 3 a.m. Monday, he checked his ticket and discovered he was a winner. He gave his wife a smile and a hug and then left a message for his boss: "I'm really sorry, boss. I hit the jackpot. I don't think I'm going to come in today, tomorrow or ever."

The ticket is worth $324 million, or half the $648-million jackpot.

The owner of the San Jose store where the ticket was sold will also take home his own prize of $1 million, according to lottery officials.

Thuy Nguyen told lottery officials that he purchased the store -- Jenny's Gift Shop -- just four months ago.

The winning numbers were 8, 14, 17, 20, 39 and a mega number of 7.

The other winner, a Georgia resident who already came forward to claim her prize, purchased her ticket in Atlanta.

If Tran chooses the cash option, his ticket is estimated to be worth $173.8 million.

California Lottery officials on Friday did not provide any more information identifying Tran, including his age or city of residence.

Two other tickets sold in California matched five numbers and were missing only the Mega numbers. The tickets, both purchased in San Diego County, remain unclaimed and are worth $2.6 million to their owners.

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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