MARSHALL — The winner of the biggest jackpot in Missouri history bought his $258.5 million Powerball ticket at the convenience store where he works as a clerk, the store chain's general manager said Thursday.
Lottery officials said a Powerball ticket purchased at the Break Time convenience store in Marshall hit all six numbers in Wednesday night's drawing.
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 AP isn't identifying the purported winner until the ticket has been verified.
But Maxwell was in no doubt that the employee, who she said is in his 20s and has been working at the store for only a few months, has struck 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."
The $258.5 million jackpot is the biggest ever won in Missouri and the 10th-biggest Powerball jackpot.
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.