NBC 4 New York
A single Powerball ticket sold in Passaic, N.J. matched all six numbers in Saturday night's drawing for the $338.3 million jackpot, lottery officials said Monday. Pat Battle reports.
A single lottery ticket sold in Passaic, N.J. matched all six numbers in Saturday night's Powerball drawing and a Passaic father of five claims he is the lucky $338.3 million jackpot winner.
The winning ticket — the fourth largest in Powerball history — was sold at Eagle Liquors on Passaic Street. Lottery officials have not confirmed the identity of the winner, but a Passaic man rushed into the store on Monday, claiming the prize was his.
The owner of Eagle Liquors, Sammy Sethi, said he scanned 44-year-old Pedro Quezada's lottery ticket and it came up with the message "Jackpot!"
The New Jersey Lottery confirmed that the winning ticket was validated at the store at 4:30 p.m. Monday, but officials said they didn't yet know the winner's name.
The self-proclaimed winner is a father of five from the Dominican Republic who claims he has the lucky lottery receipt hidden away.
He told reporters in Spanish that he was "very happy" and that he intends to help his family.
His wife, Ines Sanchez, told the Bergen Record that Quezada called her with the news Monday afternoon.
"I still can't believe it," she said. "We never expected it, but thank God."
The family's apartment sits at the end of a short dead end block that abuts a highway. Neighbors stood out in the rain Monday night and spoke with pride that one of their own had struck it rich.
Eladia Vazquez has lived across the street from Quezada's building for the past 25 years. The block has a half-dozen three-story brick apartment buildings on each side, and Vazquez says it's a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone, including what car they drive and what parking space they use.
Vazquez described Quezada and his wife as "quiet and not overly talkative" but sensed that they seemed to be working all the time.
"This is super for all of us on this block," she said. "They deserve it because they are hardworking people."
Richard Delgado, who lives down the block from Quezada's building, said the man was "a hard worker, like all of us here. We all get up in the morning and go to work."
The liquor shop owner himself is due $10,000 for selling the lucky ticket.
"Not bad," said Sethi, who has owned the store for eight years. "We are very happy."
Thirteen other tickets worth $1 million each matched all but the final Powerball number on Saturday night. Those tickets were sold in New Jersey, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. Two were sold in both Florida and Pennsylvania.
The numbers drawn were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31. A lump sum payout would be worth $221 million.
Powerball said on its website that the grand prize jackpot has now been reset to an estimated $40 million or a lump sum cash amount estimated at $25 million for Wednesday's next drawing.
No one had won the Powerball jackpot since early February, when Dave Honeywell in Virginia bought the winning ticket and elected a cash lump sum for his $217 million jackpot.
The largest Powerball jackpot ever came in at $587.5 million in November. The winning numbers were picked on two different tickets — one by a couple in Missouri and the other by an Arizona man — and the jackpot was split.
Nebraska still holds the record for the largest Powerball jackpot won on a single ticket — $365 million. That jackpot was won by eight workers at a Lincoln, Neb., meatpacking plant in February 2006.
Powerball is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The chance of matching all five numbers and the Powerball number is about 1 in 175 million.