The winning ticket for the biggest jackpot in Missouri history was sold at a convenience store in Marshall, and a store official said Thursday that the winner is a clerk who works at the store.
Lottery officials announced Thursday that a Powerball ticket purchased at the city's Break Time convenience store hit all six numbers in Wednesday night's drawing. The $258.5 million jackpot is the biggest ever won in Missouri, and the 10th-biggest Powerball jackpot ever.
Although the Lottery is waiting to verify the ticket before announcing the name of the winner, a Break Time official said the Lottery's communications director had left the store Thursday morning with an employee who bought the winning ticket.
"Gary Gonder with the Lottery scooped him off and is taking him to Jefferson City," said Jackie Maxwell, general manager of the Missouri-based Break Time convenience store chain. "The Missouri Lottery looked at his ticket, confirmed his numbers and took him away."
Maxwell was at the store doing a telephone interview with The Associated Press when the employee walked in and said he had won.
"This is just absolutely amazing," Maxwell said as cheering erupted in the background. "I'm so excited for him. I'm thrilled for him."
Lottery spokeswoman Susan Goedde confirmed that the ticket had been bought at that store and said it could take up to a day to verify the winning ticket.
The winner has been identified as Chris Shaw of Marshall, Mo. Shaw is in his 20s and has been working at the store for only a few months before striking it rich.
"At this point he's trying to absorb that it's even real," she said in a later phone conversation with AP. "He's just a great guy, a good employee. When you think of a large winner like this, everyone likes to see that the person who won is somebody like (him). He's an awesome guy."
Natasha Woody said that she sold the winning ticket to her co-worker Wednesday night, adding that at the time he joked about having the winning ticket and told Woody that if he won he would give her $2 million.
"It's just the fact that I sold it," said Woody. "I got to touch the ticket."
Other customers said they wished they had purchased a ticket on Wednesday. One person said, "That could have been me, but I'm so excited for him."
Woody doesn't know if Shaw will take the joking promise seriously, but she said, "Honestly I think he'll do something, because he's that kind of guy."
Store manager Debbie Rogers said that Shaw had been a truck driver before working at the store. "He stopped driving trucks so he can be with his family," said Shaw.
He had been making $7.25 an hour as a clerk. Rogers said he had been facing some tough times.
"Nobody deserves it more than him," she said.
The winner can choose between a lump-sum pretax payment of roughly $124.8 million or take the jackpot in 30 payments over 29 years.
The winning numbers were 11-34-41-49-55, Powerball 20. The Power Play number was 2.
Break Time will receive $50,000 for selling the winning ticket.
The prize goes to an estimated $20 million for Saturday.
Maxwell said there have been several other lottery winners at Break Time stores in the past couple of years, including a $2.5 million Missouri Lotto ticket in St. Joseph, $1.5 million Lotto winner in Jefferson City and $1 million scratch-off ticket winner in Mexico. Mo.