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Charlotte man only stopped to get a drink. What he bought on a whim sent him running.

After a scratch-off lottery ticket scored him $1 million, Lewis Watkins of Charlotte said he felt like a football player who’d just made a touchdown.

Watkins bought the winning Extreme Millions ticket when he stopped to get a drink at the Kangaroo Express on Ashdale Court in Concord.

“The guy in front of me bought an Extreme Millions ticket,” Watkins told state lottery officials when he claimed his prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Wednesday. “So I thought, ‘Why not take a chance?’ 

He bought the $30 ticket and scratched it. When he saw that he won a million bucks, he celebrated. He beat odds of 1 in 780,000.

Extreme Millions
Lewis Watkins of Charlotte bought a winning $1 million Extreme Millions ticket at the Kangaroo Express on Ashdale Court in Concord N.C. Education Lottery N.C. Education Lottery

“I started running up and down the gas pumps like it was a football field,” Watkins told lottery officials, who announced his win on Thursday. “I’m sure people thought I was crazy. It’s better than scoring a touchdown!”

He had the choice of taking an annuity that has 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. He chose the lump sum. After required state and federal tax withholdings, he took home $417,015.

Watkins, who works in a lab testing asphalt, plans to use some of the money to buy a new truck.

Extreme Millions launched in December 2016 with four top prizes of $10 million and 22 prizes of $1 million. Two top prizes and 10 $1 million prizes remain to be claimed.

Also this week, someone bought a winning $1 million North Carolina Lottery Mega Millions ticket at the Food Lion on Sunset Road West in north Charlotte. It matched all five white balls drawn to win, beating odds of 1 in 12.6 million.

The winning numbers were 2-6-30-31-55 for the white balls and 7 for the Megaball. The prize has yet to be claimed.

The Charlotte area has been on a winning streak for over a year with lucky million-dollar lottery tickets.

At least 13 lottery players near Charlotte won $1 million in 2017 alone.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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