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SMSU professor wins $1 million Powerball prize

ROSEVILLE — A college professor from southwest Minnesota who has been enriching the minds of students for 20 years struck it rich by winning $1 million playing Powerball.

John Engstrom of Mountain Lake said it was a “fluke” that he even purchased a Powerball ticket on Dec. 18.

Engstrom and his wife were in Mankato doing some last-minute Christmas shopping when he stopped at Kwik Trip. He was standing in line waiting to buy some donuts when he noticed the Powerball jackpot sign and thought, “What the heck — I should buy a ticket.” He put it in his coat pocket and said he “didn’t think twice about it.”

It wasn’t until Christmas Eve when Engstrom did some unexpected laundry thanks to his 11-month-old grandson that he discovered his $1 million winning Powerball ticket in his coat pocket.

“I told my son, ‘Your baby had a million-dollar mess!’ If it wasn’t for his messy diaper, I wouldn’t have checked the ticket.” Adding, “It was a miracle I didn’t lose the ticket.”

Engstrom’s single-line quick pick ticket matched the first five winning numbers drawn on Dec. 18 to win the $1 million prize. The winning Powerball numbers were 14-18-26-39-68 and the Powerball number was 9.

Engstrom is an education professor at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Kwik Trip #344 is located at 2549 E. Madison Ave. in Mankato. The business earned a $5,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Engstrom is the fifth Minnesotan to claim $1 million or more so far this year.

Since 1990, the Lottery has generated more than $3 billion for programs that positively impact the lives of Minnesotans. More than $1.2 billion has helped preserve, restore and protect Minnesota’s environment through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, Game and Fish Fund and the Natural Resources Fund. Another $1.8 billion has helped fund state programs, including education, public safety and health and human services.

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