Lady Luck landed in south Charlotte Wednesday as the North Carolina Education Lottery announced that a winning $1 million Powerball ticket was purchased at the Circle K convenience store at 2926 Selwyn Ave.
No winner or winners have stepped forward to claim the Charlotte prize, but lottery spokesman Van Denton urged area residents to check their tickets closely.
The largest Powerball jackpot ever was won by two tickets sold in Arizona and Missouri.
Jerry Hucks, meanwhile, was one number away. One number on a little red ball – OK, the little red ball – away from sharing the record $587.5 million Powerball jackpot.
But the Rock Hill man who builds trucks for a living isn’t disappointed. After all, the five numbers he did match made him a $1 million lottery winner in Wednesday’s drawing.
When Hucks got off work Thursday morning, he remembered the sticky note on which he had jotted down Wednesday night’s winning Powerball numbers.
He reached into the side compartment of his truck to find his Powerball ticket and flipped on the light inside the cab to see the first five numbers on the sticky note aligned perfectly with the last set of numbers printed on his ticket.
Hucks, who works at Daimler Trucks in Cleveland, went back inside the plant, where a co-worker looked the Powerball ticket over and told him he won $1 million.
“I didn’t even have the truck door locked, and I had a $1 million ticket out there,” Hucks told lottery officials when he arrived Thursday to collect his winnings. “I can’t believe I let three or four guys at work hold my ticket.”
His parting words to them: “I’m not quitting, but I’m not working any more overtime.”
Hucks called his girlfriend to tell her the news and that he was headed home. At one point, he had to pull over to throw up, overcome by the fact that he beat the 1-in-5,153,633 odds to be a millionaire.
Hucks was one of three South Carolina Education Lottery players to successfully match the first five numbers drawn Wednesday.
He stopped at the Mr. Express convenience store on Nations Ford Road in Rock Hill on his way in to work Wednesday and had to stand in line to get a ticket. He’s glad he was patient and waited for his quick pick to print.
Hucks told lottery officials he is paying off his house and will be back at work Friday.
The Mr. Express convenience store will receive a commission of $10,000 for selling the claimed ticket.
Store manager Mike Sharifi said Hucks is one of his regular customers, coming in two to three times a week to play the lottery.
Sharifi said Hucks came in early Thursday to thank him for selling the winning ticket.
“I’m glad we sold a winning ticket,” Sharifi said. “Sales were very good yesterday.”
The Powerball winning numbers for Wednesday were 5, 16, 22, 23 and 29, with Powerball number 6.
They mystery continues in Charlotte.
“We know we have three tickets that matched five balls in North Carolina, one of which was sold at the Circle K on Selwyn Avenue in Charlotte,” said Denton. “It could be one person, it could be a group of people. We don’t have a clue as to who the winner is.”
In addition to the Selwyn Avenue ticket, two additional lucky purchases were made in Burlington and Kinston. Leslie Rouse, a farmer from Kinston, and his son, Christopher Rouse, came forward to present their winning ticket. After taxes, the Rouses each received a check for $340,000.
Denton noted that winners have 180 days to come to lottery headquarters in Raleigh to claim their prize. Fourteen other tickets sold in the state matched the numbers of four of the five white balls plus the number on the Powerball, and are worth $10,000 each.
Clerks at the Selwyn store were mum about the winning ticket, though the busy store was abuzz with the news Wednesday.
Paula Crowe, a spokeswoman for the Southeast region for Circle K, said her Charlotte office had heard from lottery officials. “We don’t have a lot of information at this time, but we are certainly excited about it,” she said. “It’s not very often that you sell a ticket for a million-dollar winner. It’s great fun.”
The (Rock Hill) Herald and Associated Press contributed to this report.