One set of winners, from Missouri, has already come forward. But mystery still surrounds the person who bought the winning ticket in Arizona. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.
It's not just the two jackpot winners who hit big in Wednesday's Powerball drawing. Besides the $587 million grand prize, the lottery offered $131 million in other prizes, and those ended up creating at least 60 other instant millionaires.
Powerball sold 8,924,125 winning tickets for this week's drawing, said the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball in the 27 states that participate.
Nearly all of them are for relatively small returns, but in addition to the two big jackpot tickets, there were 66 million-dollar tickets in 25 states. The winners have 180 days to claim their prizes, so there's no way to track down all of the winners. But a handful have already stepped forward, some of them with stories just as compelling as those of the jackpot winners:
Take, for instance, the 22 Columbus, Ohio, cops who went in on a ticket that hit a million at a gas station in nearby Grandview Heights. They'll take home about $30,000 apiece once they divide up what's left after the government takes its 30 percent cut.
Lt. Kevin Conley, one of the winning officers, said none of the cops likely has grandiose plans — he hopes to finance a few vacations for himself and his wife.
"Remember, you're talking to a whole bunch of cops. We're not a whole bunch of people that'll be jumping around screaming and yelling. We don't do that," Conley told NBC station WCMH of Columbus. "Everybody's happy, and they're smiling. They're doing that."
In an odd coincidence, several of the winning Powerball numbers matched the jersey numbers of baseball players in the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame: Mark Gubicza, Dan Quisenberry and Dennis Leonard to name a few. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.
Almerta Williams of Edgewood, Md., did the double: Because she paid extra for the Bonus Powerball option, her million-dollar ticket is actually worth $2 million. And even that was a mistake.
Williams told NBC station WBAL of Baltimore that she won only because she marked down the wrong number — she meant to mark down a 3, but instead she marked a 5.
"So I told my kids, 'You all make fun of me because I can't see?' I said, 'Me not being able to see got me $2 million. I'm a rich blind woman,'" Williams said.
For Larry Chandler, 34, of Highland, Ind., the $1 million he scored Wednesday should be enough to put him back in his home. He's been living with his girlfriend because his own home is in foreclosure.
"I've never won anything in my life, and I've played lots of different things. I just never won anything, so finally I won something, and it's pretty cool," Chandler said.
Chandler plans to be back on the line Monday at his job as a union electrician with BP. This week? He's spending it consulting with his dad, a financial planner, about what to do with the money.
That's a common theme. Besides Chandler and the Columbus cops, other million-dollar-ticket winners say they, too, will be back in the office.
Take Jerry Hucks of Rock Hill, S.C., just south of Charlotte, N.C. He also said he wouldn't abandon his job as a truck builder for Daimler Trucks. But he also said wouldn't be accepting overtime anymore, either.
Hucks was in his truck Thursday morning when he flipped on the light and saw the winning numbers on his ticket.
"I didn't even have the truck door locked, and I had a million-dollar ticket out there," Hucks told lottery officials in Columbia. "Then I can't believe I let three or four guys at work hold my ticket and Google the numbers, screaming, 'It's a $1 million!'"
Hucks told NBC station WIS of Columbia that he then called his girlfriend with the news and began driving home. His nerves held out until he hit the road.
Pretty soon, he had to pull over to throw up.
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