55-Year-Old Man Wins Powerball Jackpot

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Andrew Jackson Whittaker Jr., opted to take the lump sum of more than $111 million after taxes, Lottery spokeswoman Nancy Bulla said.

"It's a chunk of change, a lot of money," Bulla said.

Whittaker wife's name is Jewell, he has a daughter named Ginger, a 15-year-old granddaughter and he plans to pay his tithe to the Church of God with the winnings.

"I just want to thank God for letting me pick the right numbers — or letting the machine pick the right numbers," Whittaker said.

Whittaker said he would share the rest of his winnings with his family, and may expand his business.

He told Bulla he was not a regular lottery player but purchased $100 in tickets because the jackpot was so high.

The ticket for the Christmas night drawing was purchased Monday at the C&L Super Serve in Hurricane, 25 miles west of Charleston, officials of the multistate lottery said.

"It's so just that the poorest state in America wins the biggest Powerball in history," said Bob O'Dell, a 51-year-old resident of Hurricane. (West Virginia's per capita income actually was second lowest to Mississippi's in 2000.)

The jackpot was believed to be the largest ever for a single winning ticket, it also was the third-largest jackpot in U.S. history.

An unexpected Christmas Day run on Powerball tickets pushed the already whopping $280 million jackpot to $314.9 million just before numbers were drawn, making it the Powerball's largest prize ever.

The winning numbers were 5-14-16-29-53 and the Powerball was 7.

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Lottery Facts

  • Powerball is the nation's largest lottery game. It is sold in 23 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  • Before the Christmas 2002 prize, the largest Powerball jackpot was $295.7 million in July 1998.

  • The biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history was a Big Game prize of $363 million, won in May 2000 by ticketholders in Michigan and Illinois.

  • The second was a $331 million Big Game jackpot split between three tickets in April.

  • Spain's annual Christmas lottery known as El Gordo — The Fat One — is billed as the world's richest. This year's $1.7 billion jackpot spreads wealth among millions of people. About 10,000 numbers win some kind of prize, from $20 to $200,000.