Johnell Washington of Covington had no idea that the unclaimed $50,000-winning Lottery ticket his friend told him about was the very same ticket that he happened to find tucked away in one of his encyclopedias.  Washington claimed the jackpot prize from the May 22 Cash Quest drawing at the Louisiana Lottery Corporation's New Orleans office today, less than a month before it was set to expire on Nov. 18.

"My friend told me 'You know, I saw that nobody ever claimed the prize from that drawing.'  I had just placed the piece of paper somewhere not realizing it was my ticket," he explained. 

He purchased his winning ticket at Covington Quick Stop on N. Columbia Street in Covington and the store received a $500 bonus for selling the winning ticket. The winning numbers for the May 22 Cash Quest drawing were 21-24-42-48 and Washington's ticket matched all four numbers in the $50,000 prize tier. Players of the Lottery draw-style games must claim any prizes within 180 days of the drawing in which they are won.

Washington said he plans to use the money to help his daughters, who are in school, and spend a little on his grandson.

The Lottery closed Cash Quest with the last drawing on Sept. 15 and launched a new draw-style game, Easy 5.  Easy 5 offers a starting, pari-mutuel cash jackpot of $50,000 that grows until it is won. Drawings for Easy 5 are on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Players must be at least 21 years old to purchase a Lottery ticket. Anyone who has a gambling problem or friends and family of anyone with a gambling problem are encouraged to call toll-free 1-877-770-7867 for help.