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'I Was Going Crazy': Hackensack Man Wins $1.6M Playing Lottery

Essex Street Liquors & Wines in Hackensack
Essex Street Liquors & Wines in Hackensack Photo Credit: Google Maps

Carlos Vallejo of Hackensack in is a long-time lottery player.

He loves playing draw games, especially Jersey Cash 5, and watches the drawing on television every night.

For years, Vallejo has selected his own numbers using the significant dates of family birthdays and other important events.

On a recent visit to Essex Street Liquors & Wines, he used those same numbers to purchase Jersey Cash 5 tickets for the Saturday, June 8 drawing.

While watching the drawing that night, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing; he had just hit the jackpot of $1.639 million.

Vallejo couldn't believe it.

"No, no, no," he said. "It can’t be that all of my numbers matched."

Vallejo kept checking his ticket to make sure he had seen the right thing.

“I was going crazy,” he said.

Vallejo decided to go to the retailer to confirm that this really was a winning ticket. After scanning the ticket, the retailer congratulated Vallejo and gave him the good news -- he hit the jackpot.

While at New Jersey Lottery headquarters to file a claim, Vallejo told lottery officials he felt so many emotions and it took a while to set in that he had won the jackpot.

"I cannot believe it," he said. "I got so nervous, I cried."

Vallejo won the Pick-4 game a while back, but this was his first win of this magnitude. Both times that he has won, he played numbers that were connected to his father.

Vallejo plans to save and invest his winnings.

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