COLUMBIA, S.C. The winner of last week's $400 million Powerball jackpot has claimed his prize, but the South Carolina man is asking to remain anonymous.
South Carolina lottery officials said the winner, from Columbia, presented the winning ticket Monday. Under state law, he does not have to release his name.
The lottery did give a few details about the winner. He stopped to get gas at the Murphy Express the day of the drawing last Wednesday and his wife told him to buy some hot dog buns. The store didn't sell buns, but after seeing the $400 million prize advertised, the winner bought $20 in lottery tickets instead.
Lottery officials didn't say if the man took the $399.4 million payout over 30 years or the direct cash option of $233 million.
The lucky ticket was one of 356 sold Wednesday afternoon at the gas station, nestled just off 1-20 west of Columbia. On Thursday, dozens of reporters and rows of television satellite trucks gathered at the station, along a road lined with fast-food restaurants, meat processing stores and a red barn where produce and homemade jellies are sold.
Nearby billboards played on the lottery news: "Feeling lucky? Shop at Murphys. Feeling hungry? Come on in!" "Hey Powerball winner, have you tried our pepper-coated bacon?"
Lottery Executive Director Paula Harper Bethea said the winner chose a "quick pick" ticket, letting the computer select the numbers: 7-10-22-32-35, with the Powerball of 19.
It's the largest Powerball winning ticket sold in South Carolina. In May, a Florida widow won the biggest Powerball jackpot in history a $590 million pot.
Store manager Keith Wedmore said he'd encouraged some people to buy a ticket Wednesday afternoon and that he hoped the winner was one of those he'd talked into spending their money.
"It was steady all day long," Wedmore said. "We are a busy store."
He noted that many visitors come from out of state, since I-20 runs from central South Carolina all the way to Texas. "We draw all sorts of traffic off the interstate," he said.
Customer Donna Taylor of Columbia, 42, said she purchased Powerball tickets, but it wasn't her lucky day.
"I didn't win. I'm frustrated," said Taylor, who runs a cleaning service. "I think I'm going to go right in there and buy another ticket today."
Leo Hinnant, 48, of Columbia, leaned on his pickup and laughed at all the fuss as he filled his tank.
"It's high time it's come close to home, but I want to see who the winner is," he said.