A Foley, Alabama man won almost $2 million in a Florida Lotto drawing, according to officials with the state lottery office in Tallahassee.
Earl S. Luellen of Foley, Alabama won half of a $7 million jackpot in the Saturday night drawing, according to a statement released by Florida officials Tuesday. The other winning ticket, sold in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had not been claimed Tuesday night.
Luellen, an agriculture inspector, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. The statement said he realized he had the winning ticket when he confirmed the numbers published in the Mobile Register.
"When I realized I had all six numbers, I was in shock for a while," Luellen said in the statement. "I checked the numbers in the Mobile newspaper and called the Florida Lottery's phone number to make sure I was a winner. I was too stunned to do anything else, but I think my heart skipped a beat."
Luellen said in the news release that he planned to use the money to buy a new house as well as a truck and boat and use the remainder for investments.
Rather than take his $3.5 million share of the jackpot in installments, Luellen chose to receive a lump-sum payment of $1,967,180.96.
He bought the ticket at Bob's Superette No. 2 at 13120 Lillian Highway in Pensacola, lottery officials said. The store will receive half of the $10,000 retailer bonus for selling the winning ticket.
"This is our second winning ticket that we've sold in Baldwin County," said store owner Pearl Meszaros. "The first one was in 1999. We're as happy for them as if we'd won it."
Meszaros said she did not know Luellen by name, but many Baldwin County customers are regular buyers who are known to store employees by sight.
The winning numbers for the Jan. 31 drawing were: 10-18-25-26-28-41.