Massachusetts nurse wins $1M Mega Millions prize

BRAINTREE, MA (WHDH) - A Massachusetts nurse matched her first five numbers in Tuesday’s historic Mega Millions drawing and earned a prize of $1 million, lottery officials announced Wednesday.

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Jennifer Santo, 40, of Dartmouth, received a one-time payment after purchasing her winning ticket at a Cumberland Farms on Main Street in Bridgewater.

Santo, who was joined by her husband Manuel at Lottery headquarters to claim her prize, was especially grateful after a recent unfortunate travel experience.

The Lottery says the couple had booked a bucket list vacation in celebration of her 40th birthday but learned at the airport that Manuel would not be allowed to board the flight because the date of their departure was less than three months from the expiration date on his passport.

“It doesn’t feel real to me right now. It really doesn’t. I deposited the check into my account today and I’m literally floored,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer and Manuel say they didn’t sleep at all Tuesday night after realizing they hit seven figures on Mega Millions.

“I didn’t believe her at first,” Manuel said.

The couple and their two kids live in South Dartmouth but bought their tickets on a whim Tuesday night at the Cumberland Farms in Bridgewater where their son had a soccer game.

The attention so far has been overwhelming.

“My phone is blowing up,” Jennifer said. “I can’t even keep up with the messages I am getting from friends and family.”

Santo says she plans to use a portion of the winnings to invest in the education of her two children.

A second $1 million prize won on a ticket sold at Wilmington Nouria has yet to be claimed.

Cumberland Farms will receive a $10,000 bonus for its sale of the ticket.

The winning jackpot ticket of $1.537 billion was sold in South Carolina.

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