22 co-workers saw Mega Millions jackpot and chipped in. They won $32,000 each

Twenty-two co-workers in Union County, North Carolina, won a $1 million lottery prize after seeing the $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot and chipping in on 11 Quick Pick tickets in the drawing, according to a state lottery news release.

“We didn’t even realize how much the tickets were,” Katherine Lindsey McIntyre, one of the 22, told lottery officials, according to the news release. “We just had everyone who wanted to participate chip in $1.”

Each took home about $32,000, after state and federal tax withholdings, lottery officials said.

They bought the tickets at the Zoom Express on Skyway Drive in Monroe, according to the lottery news release.

The winning ticket matched the five white balls, beating odds of one in about 12.6 million, lottery officials said.

The co-workers asked lottery officials not to identify where they work, a lottery spokeswoman told The Charlotte Observer in a phone interview Thursday night.

The ticket was one of two sold in North Carolina to win $1 million prizes in the drawing. The other ticket was sold at at the Circle K on Harrison Avenue in Cary, according to a previous NC Education Lottery news release.

Two Multiplier tickets won $30,000, and nine tickets won $10,000, officials said.

DeCora Bowers of Walkerton was the first to realize the group had won. “I checked the numbers on my phone using the lottery app,” Bowers told lottery officials, the news release said. “I was looking at the numbers and flipping through the tickets. When I got to the last one, I couldn’t believe it.”

She called Mary McNeely of Monroe. “I started screaming when she told me,” McNeely told lottery officials. “I woke everyone up in my family because I was so loud.”

They “started playing phone tag, calling everyone in the group who would answer their phone,” the news release said. Those who didn’t answer learned about it at work the next morning, officials said.

Marilyn Vaughn of Monroe “didn’t even know she was part of the pool,” officials said in the news release.

“Another co-worker asked me if I was in the pool, and I said, ‘What pool?’ ” Vaughn told lottery officials. “Apparently someone had paid a $1 for me. I couldn’t believe it, I was in shock.”

Vaughn, in turn, “left work and went to share the good news with Pamela Dennis, who was home sick,” according to the news release.

“I was dressed in my pajamas and bathrobe and resting when I got a knock on the door,” the Monroe woman told lottery officials. “I opened it and Marilyn was there saying, ‘We won! We won! We won!’ I couldn’t wrap my head around it, I was stunned.”

Some in the group “plan to make investments or pay off student loans, others plan to travel,” the news release said.

Barbara Medlin of Marshville will use her winnings to adopt a child, the lottery said.

“We’ve been trying to save enough money to adopt,” she told lottery officials, according to the news release.. “We were $7,000 short, so that will take care of it for us. It’s a huge relief.”

Lamont Reaves of Matthews will spend part of his winnings to visit the last Blockbuster store, in Oregon. “It’s Blockbuster,” he told lottery officials. It’s historical and nostalgic.”

According to the lottery’s news release, the other winners in the group were Sonia Buitron of Waxhaw; William Henry of Monroe; Asocialyn Murphy of Charlotte; Sharon Corpening of Salisbury; Tammy Goodson of Monroe; Katherine Lindsey McIntyre of Charlotte; Karina Andersen Clark of Charlotte; Paula Gray of Wingate; Yolanda Mino of Matthews; Teshia Cruz of Monroe; Tamara Blount of Monroe; Amber Williams of Monroe; Charles Thompson of Waxhaw; Robin Vanderburg of Monroe; Jondrea Page of Harrisburg; and Angie Chambliss of Harrisburg.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak
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