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Elgin truck driver’s Christmas stocking held $380,000

James Abner Elgholds his winning $380000 lottery ticket.

James Abner of Elgin holds his winning $380,000 lottery ticket.

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Updated: February 14, 2013 6:44AM

ELGIN — For years it has been a Christmas morning tradition for the Abner family of Elgin to open gifts, then have coffee while they scratch the instant lottery tickets they give each other.

“It was a little different this year because suddenly we were all cheering and passing my ticket around,” said James Abner, who scratched a Cash For Life instant ticket and won $500 a week for life.

He said the winning ticket was a gift from his son.

“It’s one of the best Christmas gifts ever. We’ll be debt-free because of this lottery win,” he said.

Abner, a truck driver, is married with two sons and two grandchildren. He chose the one-time cash option of $380,000.

He said that in addition to paying off debts, he plans to save some of the windfall for retirement.

The winning ticket was purchased at 7-Eleven, 1024 S. McLean Blvd. in Elgin. The store received a $3,800 bonus, 1 percent of the prize amount, for selling the winning ticket.

The Illinois Lottery offers a number of versions of the Cash for Life instant game including games with top prizes of $500, $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000 each week for life. The newest member of the Cash for Life family, 20X20, offers a top prize of $20,000 a week for 20 years.

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