RALEIGH – For nearly four months, Tommy Belcher, a home remodeler from Charlotte, unknowingly drove around with a Carolina Cash 5 ticket worth a quarter of a million dollars stashed in the visor of his truck.

Belcher was working on his truck on Monday when his mother-in-law told him that there was an unclaimed Cash 5 ticket sold at a local store. Belcher pulled a stack of tickets from over the visor and took them to a local lottery retailer. One of the tickets had matched all five numbers in the May 28 drawing, winning Belcher a $257,933 jackpot.

“I was surprised and happy,” said Belcher. “If my mother-in-law hadn’t told me about the ticket, I may have let it expire. The only thing she’s asking for is a new refrigerator, and I’m going to buy it for her.”

Belcher also plans to use his winnings, worth $175,395 after state and federal taxes were withheld, to take a golf vacation and save for the future. He purchased his lucky ticket at Will’s on West Charlotte Highway in Mount Holly.

Belcher’s ticket was one of two lucky Cash 5 tickets that are closing in on their expiration date in the Charlotte area. The second ticket, which won $272,453 in the Apr. 4 drawing, will expire on Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. if no one claims it beforehand at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. The ticket was sold at the Shell Food Mart on Freedom Drive in Charlotte. Players have 180 days from the draw date to claim their prize.

As of June 2013, the lottery has raised more than $2.9 billion to support education programs. Lottery dollars support teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction and repair projects, prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, college scholarships and financial aid based on need and digital learning initiatives.

To see how more than $210.9 million in lottery dollars have made a difference in Mecklenburg County, go to the Where the Money Goes webpage at http://www.nc-educationlottery.org/beneficiary.aspx.