Winning $337 million Powerball ticket bought in Michigan
Published: August 16, 2012 07:50PM
Updated: August 16, 2012 07:50PM

Lapeer, Mich. • Paying for his 20-ounce. coffee with hazelnut creamer on his way to work this morning, roofer Tim Gajda was surprised to hear someone bought the ticket for Michigan’s largest lottery jackpot where he was standing.

“Holy crap!” he said in line at the cash register at Sunoco gas station in Lapeer, about 60 miles north of Detroit. “Hopefully it’s someone who needs it. That’s crazy they bought it from here.”

Gajda didn’t know if he bought the winner. He hadn’t checked his numbers for the winning $337-million jackpot, the third-largest Powerball jackpot and seventh-largest U.S. lottery jackpot ever.

The winning numbers were 6, 27, 46, 51 and 56, with a Powerball of 21. Only one winning jackpot ticket was sold for Wednesday night’s drawing.

Michigan Lottery spokeswoman Andi Brancato said Thursday that lottery officials verified the winner bought the ticket at the Lapeer Sunoco.

“Now we wait to hear from the winner,” she said from the state lottery headquarters in Lansing. “The winner has to call us because we have no idea who bought the winning ticket.”

The gas station will also get a $50,000 prize when the winner comes forward. Lottery officials do not for security reasons release when the ticket was sold, Brancato said.

But once the person claims the prize, his or her name will be released, she added.

“This is important for the transparency of the lottery, so people see we do have winners and we do in fact pay prizes to actual people,” Brancato said.

The lump-sum payout for the prize would be $241 million, minus a 25 percent federal tax and 4.35 percent state tax. Brancato said lottery officials did not have an estimate on the payment option for the $337 million prize.

Sam Odish, 29, owner of the Sunoco station, said he’s happy for the winner.

“We’re happy for our store, happy for Lapeer city,” he said, adding that the $50,000 will be split up among family. “Hopefully it’s a customer from Lapeer, and we’re happy for the customer.”

Marianne Erskine, 48, who works at a hospital across the street from the station, said she wishes she would have bought a ticket as usual. The mother of three skipped this week.

“You snooze, you lose,” she said, still smiling about her misfortune. “I hope it goes to somebody who really needs it. I’d love to see that. I know people who are really struggling. We’re making ends meet, but I know people who can’t.”

According to the Powerball.com web site, eight other tickets won the $1 million Match 5 prize: two from Indiana and one each from Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Virginia. One ticket sold in Nebraska with the added Power Play won $2 million. There were 2,689,630 tickets that won nearly $27 million in cash prizes.

The jackpot will now start over again at $40 million.