A Georgia truck driver has claimed half of the $390 million Mega Millions jackpot, but somewhere there’s a second winning ticket for the richest lottery prize in U.S. history, and it has yet to surface, New Jersey Lottery officials said Thursday.
“I just hope it’s a person that really deserves the money, someone that really needs it,” said Jim Schroder, the owner of Campark Liquors in Woodbine, where that winning ticket sold.
In Georgia, winner Ed Nabors wasn’t answering his phone Thursday morning.
“I’m still numb,” the 52-year-old trucker said in a deep southern drawl Wednesday as he held his oversized lottery check reading $116.5 million. He said he wanted to buy a home for his daughter, and added: “I’m going to do a lot of fishing.”
Nabors had bought the ticket with his weekly cup of coffee at a convenience store in Dalton, Ga. — the self-proclaimed “Carpet Capital of the World” — near a carpet mill run by his employer, Mohawk Industries.
When he discovered around 9 a.m. that morning that he had won, he sat stunned in his rig until a dispatcher radioed wondering what was going on.
“He was shaking so hard they sent him home from work,” said his mother, Doris Nabors, who shares a home with her son in Rocky Face, Ga., about 90 miles north of Atlanta.
$80 million after taxes
Since Nabors chose a lump sum rather than annual installments, his pay out is $116.5 million before taxes — more than $80 million after.
Nabors said he wants to buy a house for his daughter, who has wanted to move out of her mobile home for a long time, and planned to keep working — “at least two more days.” His mother said the whole family was in shock.
“We just can’t believe it,” she said from the door of her rural home. An American flag waved over a patch of daffodils, and a small camper and fishing boat were parked outside.
The other jackpot winner has exactly 365 days from Tuesday’s drawing to turn in the New Jersey ticket to state lottery officials.
The winning numbers were 16-22-29-39-42, with the Mega Ball 20. The jackpot odds: 1 in 176 million.
The previous largest lottery jackpot in the U.S. was $365 million in 2006, when eight workers at a Nebraska meatpacking plant won the Powerball drawing.
The Big Game, the forerunner of Mega Millions, paid out a $363 million jackpot in 2000.
Mega Millions tickets are sold in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington state.