December 27, 2006, - 2:30 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Stories of those winning millions in the lottery and losing everything are evergreen stories. Almost consistently, poor people winning the lottery spend themselves away, drink themselves away, or commit crimes. And some of them die due to their behavior (usually some sort of substance abuse).
This story is more tragic. Ralph Stebbins won the $208 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot with his wife, Mary in April 2005. They took the lump sum payment of $124.7 million. Stebbins was a well-digger and tow-truck operator in Port Huron, Michigan who dreamed of buying a farm and a cow.
He bought the farm. And Saturday, just 1.5 years after winning millions, he “bought the farm” again–figuratively. He died of heart failure at age 43, according to the Detroit Free Press. He seemed healthy and didn’t have a history of heart problems, the paper claims.
Not unlike all the other failed lottery winners you read about, Stebbins, too, had problems with police after winning the lottery. He was arrested on domestic charges earlier this month, after a confrontation with his 19-year-old daughter’s boyfriend, according to the Free Press. But the Port Huron Times-Herald reports that it was far more serious:
In October, Stebbins was charged in Leelanau County with attempted murder, possession of a dangerous weapon and being a habitual offender for stabbing his daughter’s boyfriend, Timothy Doan, 21, with a pocket knife at an auction.
The case still was pending when Stebbins died.
(Sounds like Free Press reporter Gina Damron didn’t do her homework–she got the month and the details of the crime entirely wrong, not to mention, a differing story of his health condition; but that Times Herald reporter Shannon Murphy does know how to report.)
The Ralph Stebbins story is yet more proof that winning the lottery isn’t everything. (It may even be a curse for most.) And that life is short. And unpredictable.
Tags: Detroit Free Press, Free Press, Free Press reporter, Gina Damron, heart failure, Leelanau County, Mary, Michigan, Port Huron, Ralph Stebbins, reporter, Shannon Murphy, the Detroit Free Press, the Free Press, Times Herald reporter, Timothy Doan, USD