Conyers woman wins $1M

CONYERS - Broken mirrors and the number 13 are generally considered bad omens, but not so for one Conyers woman.

Andrea Evans-Northern matched the number 13 to win $1 million in a Georgia Lottery instant game on April 4, the same day she broke a hand-held mirror.

Evans-Northern purchased a $10 ticket for the Cash Explosion scratch-off game at Honey Creek BP at 3500 Ga. Highway 20 South in Conyers, and wound up winning the top prize.

"I was sitting in my driveway. I didn't believe it. I showed my daughter and I said, 'Is this right?'" she said, recalling her very lucky moment. "I called my husband, who was fishing, but he didn't believe me."

An Atlanta police officer, Evans-Northern has played the lottery sporadically since the early '90s, but said she's never won more than about $80.

On the day she would become a millionaire, she broke a hand-held mirror, causing her to arrive late to a doctor's appointment.

"When I broke it, I said, 'Oh, no, seven more years (of bad luck),'" she said.

Later that day, Evans-Northern purchased several tickets for Cash Explosion, a game where players scratch off the entire play area of their card and try to match their numbers to a row of winning numbers listed at the top of the card. Players win a prize for each number matched.

Lucky number 13 carried the top prize for Evans-Northern, who celebrated her winnings with a family dinner.

She said most of the rest of the money will likely pay for the college education of the five children belonging to her and husband Eric Northern.

What about any little luxuries for herself?

"You go into debt with too many luxuries," she said, but then added that a family vacation might be in order.

Evans-Northern will be left with just under $700,000 after 31 percent of her winnings is withheld for federal and state taxes.

Though the lottery does not pay incentive bonuses for retailers on instant games, Honey Creek BP owner Sam Merani said he's happy to have the extra exposure for his store.

Merani said he's sold winning tickets amounting to $10,000 before, but never anything this big.

Evans' win came just three days after a $1.2 million Fantasy 5 ticket was purchased at a kiosk in the Kroger store on Ga. Highway 20.

So far, that lucky person has yet to come forward to claim the money, according to Lottery officials.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.