RALEIGH, N.C. — It might not be the $587.5 million jackpot, but three ticket holders in North Carolina are celebrating a million-dollar win after Wednesday night's Powerball drawing.
Les Rouse, of Kinston, and his son, Chris Rouse, of Winterville, were the first winners to come forward Thursday to claim their prize from their ticket, purchased from a Kangaroo Express in Kinston.
"I was eating breakfast this morning, and I looked at the numbers on my ticket, and it was unreal," Chris Rouse said. "I started shaking."
The Rouses, who work together on their family farm, each claimed a $500,000 prize. After taxes, they each got a check for $340,000. Chris Rouse said he plans to use his share of the winnings to help his wife pay for college and save for his children's future.
"Being a farmer, I have acquired quite a few bills," Leslie Rouse said. "This money will help take a lot off of us. I also have kids in school to take care of. The rest I'm going to invest and put away."
Alice Garland, executive director of the North Carolina Education Lottery, urged players Thursday to check their numbers closely since the Powerball game offers a variety of other significant prizes.
In addition to the three $1 million wins – tickets for the other two were sold in Kinston and Charlotte – North Carolina ticket holders won total prizes of $1.8 million, including 14 $10,000 prizes. Another 269,916 tickets are worth some other cash prize.
Garland said Powerball ticket sales in the state generated $44.3 million in revenue.
Of that, an estimated $16.8 million will go to education programs. By law, lottery funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, need-based college scholarships and pre-kindergarten programs for at-risk 4-year-olds.
Powerball officials said Thursday that two tickets sold in Phoenix, Ariz., and Missouri match all six numbers in Wednesday night's drawing: 5, 16, 22, 23, 29 and the Powerball number, 6.