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$800 million: Powerball fever hits Salisbury

By Amanda Raymond

amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

Patricia Ramsey said her whole family will be buying Powerball tickets for tonight’s drawing.

The Ramsey family likes to take vacations together.

“We’re planning our next trip and this Powerball money is going to get us there,” she said.

Just about every person who stopped by the Speedway gas station on Friday bought a Powerball ticket, or two, and an extra employee was scheduled to handle the number of people who will be buying tickets today.

“It’s going to be crazy,” Kristina Lowe, a Speedway employee, said.

As of Friday, lottery players have a chance to win an estimated annuity of $800 million in the Powerball drawing.

Wednesday’s drawing could have gotten one lucky person an estimated $524 million jackpot, but no one had the winning numbers, which were 2, 11, 47, 62, 63 and a Powerball of 17.

The jackpot on Wednesday was the fourth largest jackpot in Powerball history, but tonight’s millions is the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. The jackpot actually broke its own record on Friday after increasing the amount from $700 million.

The cash value of the jackpot is $496 million.

Angie and Jack Miller, from South Carolina, were on their way to visit their daughter in Virginia. Angie Miller said she was buying a ticket in every state on the way.

Angie Miller said she would live the good life if she won the jackpot.

“Retire. Buy an island and never be seen again,” Angie Miller said, laughing.

Ernest J. Fortune said he usually plays for smaller jackpots, but if he did win the Powerball, he said he might start a new business or get a new car.

“I’d put it to some good use,” he said.

On Facebook, Wanda Lee Johnson Hawks wrote that she would spread her winnings around.

“First thing would be to give God 10%….then share share share…I would be broke by that evening…my church would get a new fellowship building and mission house…I know God would want me to use it to help others…I am so blessed now,” Hawks wrote.

Twitter user Mollie Ruf wrote that she would “renovate the old Empire Hotel in (downtown Salisbury).”

Ramsey said for her family, it’s all in good fun.

“It’s just for fun, just having a good time with it. Between all of us, somebody’s going to win something,” Ramsey said.

The numbers will be drawn at 10:59 p.m. tonight. The overall odds of winning a prize are about 1 in 25. The odds of winning the grand prize are 1 in 292.2 million.

Prizes less than $600 can be claimed at any North Carolina Education Lottery retailer or the regional office at 5029-A W. W.T. Harris Blvd. in Charlotte. Prizes between $600 and $99,999.99 can be claimed at the NCEL headquarters, any NCEL office or mailed in using an NCEL prize claim form available on the N.C. Education Lottery website.

Prizes of $100,000 or more must be claimed in person at the NCEL headquarters on 2100 Yonkers Rd. in Raleigh. A photo I.D. and proof of social security number are required to claim winnings.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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