HUTCHINSON — A Hutchinson family that suffered a tragedy in April received a little better news this week – a $100,000 prize on a Kansas Lottery scratch ticket.

Whenever Robert Ratley Jr. has a little extra cash, he told Kansas Lottery officials, he likes to purchase instant scratch tickets.

With an extra $40 in his pocket Monday morning, the 49-year-old stopped at a local convenience store and bought two $20 Ultimate Cash scratch tickets. One revealed the cash prize.

“I’m still shaking,” Ratley told lottery officials when claiming his prize in Topeka. “I can’t believe it. When I went back into the store to have the ticket checked, the store clerk made me sit down and gave me a glass of water before I passed out. At one point, I barely knew my last name. I was so shook up it took me several minutes to calm down enough for me to drive home.”

Once the lucky winner was calm enough, he called his wife Otha to share the good news.

“Of course she didn’t believe me at first,” Ratley said. “I’m always joking about winning a big prize. I never thought it would really happen, though. When I showed the ticket to my brother, I couldn’t help but jump up and down, whooping and hollering. After that, I called my boss and told him I was taking a day off to claim my prize.”

The Ratleys lost their 20-year-old daughter, Laura Ratley, in an accident in Oklahoma in April. 

The woman was returning from a concert in Oklahoma when the van in which she was riding struck a vehicle parked on the highway shoulder. Another passenger also died.

“Her passing has been very hard on us,” Ratley said. “I wish she could have seen us win. We always do our best to help people in need. This money will allow us to pay off bills and help us, help others.”

The winning ticket was purchased at Foodmart 2, 126 W. Ave. A, Hutchinson.