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Winning Powerball ticket sold in W.Va.

July 01, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - When someone hits the lottery, others often start dreaming about what they would do with a jackpot.

Such was the case Thursday afternoon at a Charles Town convenience store, where someone bought a winning $10 million Powerball jackpot ticket.

As of Thursday afternoon, no one had claimed the ticket and a state Lottery spokeswoman encouraged the winner to call so the process could be started to claim the money.

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The winning numbers on the ticket purchased at Sheetz at the intersection of East Washington Street and Flowing Springs Road were 3, 8, 22, 42 and 49, with the Powerball number of 39 and a Power Play number of 5.

Aaron Piper was packing beer in ice outside the store Thursday when he began dreaming of hitting it big.

Piper said he does not play the lottery, and about the only gambling he does is play a slot machine occasionally at Charles Town Races & Slots, which is behind the store.

He jokingly told a reporter talking to him to hook him up with the winner.

"It's awesome," Kearneysville, W.Va., resident Etta Wilt said upon learning that the winning ticket had been bought at the store.

Wilt, whose car was parked outside the store, said her husband plays Powerball occasionally, and the highest prize he has won was about $250.

"If it had it, I would pay my house off, set my children up for life and give to charities," Wilt said.

"I wish I was the one," David Wilhelm said as he pumped gas into his truck at the store.

The Middletown, Md., resident said he plays Powerball, but only about once or twice a year.

"We're taking ... enough gamble with these horses," said Wilhelm, who was hauling a trailer for horses he races at the track.

Sheetz spokesman Dan McMahon said it is not clear when the ticket was sold.

The local Sheetz sells many lottery tickets to local residents and track patrons, and because track fans come from all around the region, the winner could be from anywhere, McMahon and Sheetz customers said.

McMahon said spirits were high among employees in the store Thursday as word began to spread that the winning ticket had been sold there.

"They're all very anxious about who the winner is," McMahon said, adding that it was the biggest winning Powerball ticket to be sold at a Sheetz.

State Lottery spokeswoman Nancy Bulla said she was excited about the winning ticket, although it doesn't attract the attention of the public like it once did.

When lotteries started, a $10 million winning ticket would create a "national frenzy. Suddenly, people don't think $10 million is so large," Bulla said.

But it can make quite a difference in someone's life, Bulla said.

The $10 million prize has a cash option of about $5.8 million, she said.

If the winner chooses to take the lump sum of $5.8 million, the amount would be nearly $4 million after taxes, Bulla said.

The annuity option would provide the winner with 30 annual payments of $333,333 before taxes. After taxes, that amount would be about $228,333 per year, or $6.85 million.

Bulla encouraged the purchaser of the ticket to sign it immediately. Without a signature, the ticket is a "bare instrument," Bulla said.

"Anyone could find it and claim it," Bulla said.

Bulla also encouraged the winner to call her office at 1-800-982-2274, ext. 250, so the process can begin of validating the ticket.

Wednesday night's winning ticket is the sixth sold in West Virginia that has won the multistate Powerball game since it began in 1994.

The last person to buy a winning jackpot ticket in West Virginia was Hobert Parnell of Rocky Gap, Va., who won a $62.4 million jackpot in 2003.

The largest Powerball jackpot ever won by a single ticket holder was $314.9 million by Jack Whittaker of Scott Depot, W.Va., on Christmas Day 2002.

Powerball is played in 27 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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