Powerball winners remain mysterious
Following Wednesday night's Powerball drawing, employees at the stores that likely sold the tickets celebrated with high-fives and awe. The two winners will share the $587.5 million jackpot.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
DEARBORN, Mo./FOUNTAIN HILLS, Arizona
Managers of a¬†Missouri¬†gas station and an¬†Arizona¬†food store said on Thursday they were delighted that they may have handed tickets to the two prospective multi-millionaire winners of a record $587.5 million¬†Powerball lottery jackpot.
The two winning tickets were sold at the gas station and sandwich shop in the tiny farming town of Dearborn,¬†Missouri, about 30 miles north of Kansas City, and the food store in¬†Fountain Hills,¬†Arizona, on the outskirts of¬†Phoenix.
Although the identities of the ticket-holders were not immediately announced, they picked the winning numbers announced at the drawing Wednesday night: 5, 16, 22, 23, 29, and the¬†Powerball number 6.
They will share an estimated $385 million before taxes if they opt to take the prize as a lump sum, or the $587.5 million can be paid out to them as annuities over three decades, the¬†Multi-State Lottery Association¬†said.
Kristi Williams, a clerk at the Trex Mart convenience store in Dearborn, said she and another employee high-fived each other when they learned the morning after the drawing that one of the two winning tickets had been purchased there.
Store manager¬†Chris Nauerz, who was working Wednesday when the lucky ticket was purchased, called the news "shocking." He said the station gets a mix of customers, both locals from Dearborn, population 500, and truck drivers passing through on nearby Interstate 29.
"It's pretty crazy to think somebody locally could possibly be a millionaire and not know it yet," Nauerz said. "And the fact that I may have even handed over the ticket is even wilder."
After no one won the top prize in Saturday's drawing, the pot grew by about $263 million to $587.5 million amid a national frenzy to buy tickets.
Bob Chebat, the manager of the store in¬†Arizona¬†where the second lucky ticket was purchased, said customers bought 986 tickets yesterday and that there was a good chance he had sold the winning ticket.
"It's almost as good as me winning," Chebat said.
"People say all the time that I'll throw you a million if I win, and no one ever has ... I guess we'll see what happens now."
Mary Neubauer, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Lottery, where¬†Powerball is based, said people from around the world called hoping for a chance to play but were told they had to be in a participating location to buy a ticket.
The previous¬†Powerball top prize of $365 million was won in 2006 by ConAgra slaughterhouse workers in¬†Nebraska. The largest-ever U.S. lottery jackpot, the $656 million Mega Millions drawing, was shared by three winning tickets last March.
(Additional reporting by Colleen Jenkins, David Bailey and Mary Slosson; Writing by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Vicki Allen and Eric Walsh)