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Lottery Winner's Life A Shambles

Jody Lee Taylor sits in a Virginia jail.

The 54-year-old winner of $4.4 million in the lottery 11 years ago is charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to run down a sheriff's deputy while driving naked, police said.

Taylor was driving the wrong way on U.S. Route 58 last weekend with his headlights off when police tried to pull him over. Taylor left the road and drove through a yard and into a field, where he tried to run down deputy J.W. Cassell, police said.

"This man would have been better off without the money, frankly," Cassell told the Washington Post. "It certainly didn't help him, I can tell you that."

The Post, which interviewed Taylor's friends and family, described him as a troubled man who liked drink and drugs long before he struck it rich in 1992.

One of the lottery's most enduring dreams is that the rush of wealth turns one's life around in an instant. That certainly wasn't the case with Taylor, whose downward spiral seemed to be accelerated by his windfall.

"He never had nothing, he hadn't aspired to anything and then he had it all at once," his estranged wife Jennifer told the Post. "It was overwhelming."

Taylor's wealth was drained by generous impulses. The cash went a long way in one of the poorest areas of Virginia. The millionaire helped friends, family and his community alike with his new-found wealth.

But Taylor didn't quickly run through his money. Since he had taken the cash in annual payments of $220,000 spread over 20 years, his descent was played out in a kind of slow motion.

Three years after the big win, he was convicted of arson (setting fire to his own car) and shooting at an occupied building (his home).

A stint in jail didn't seem to help the millionaire. Taylor's wife left him a year ago. His life continued to deteriorate until his latest brush with the law.

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