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UPDATE: Missouri store clerk wins $258 million Powerball jackpot

Thursday, April 22, 2010 | 8:55 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — A central Missouri convenience store clerk with $28.96 in his bank account and a stack of utility bills to pay came forward Thursday as the winner of a $258 million Powerball jackpot.

Chris Shaw, 29, said he plans to use the winnings to pay off the $1,000 he owes a friend for a truck he recently bought, catch up on his utility bills, see a dentist about getting his two missing front teeth replaced, and take his three children and his girlfriend's two children to Walt Disney World in Florida.

"We didn't come from money. For us it's just going to be a huge relief to know I'm going to be able to pay my electric bill, my gas bill," Shaw said. "It's like a weight lifted. I had bills at home I didn't know how they were going to be paid."

Shaw said he bought the $5 ticket Wednesday at the Break Time convenience store where he works in Marshall, about 80 miles east of Kansas City. The tattooed father of three accepted his ceremonial check at the Missouri Lottery headquarters in Jefferson City, wearing a tan and red plaid shirt, a red hat and a huge grin.

"That amount of money to me is like a fairy tale," Shaw said. "I'm just a regular guy working pay check to pay check ... well not any more."

Shaw had been working at the convenience store for just three weeks when he decided to buy the Powerball ticket, cigarettes and a soda at the end of his shift Wednesday.

"We had been kidding each other all day about winning it, but no one actually thinks they will win," Shaw said.

The $258.5 million jackpot is the 10th-biggest Powerball jackpot ever. The winning numbers were 11-34-41-49-55, Powerball 20. The Power Play number was 2.

Shaw said he will seek advice "from people who know about money" before deciding whether to take the jackpot in 30 payments over 29 years or the lump-sum amount of $124,875,122. He also said he needed a few days before deciding whether he will continue working his minimum-wage job.

Shaw — who has a 10-year-old son, a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old girl by two different women — said he had played Missouri Scratchers lottery tickets before, winning at most $80. He checked his Powerball ticket against the state lottery's website only after his girlfriend, Tosha Ewry, told him the winning ticket was bought at the store where he works.

Shaw said his children already have been asking for new skateboards, bicycles and "just stuff that's really hard to do when you make $7.25 an hour."

He said he looks forward to spending more time with his kids, who live with their mothers about 240 miles southeast of him in his hometown of Alton, as well as with his girlfriend's children — 13-year-old and 15-year-old boys he says he considers his own.

"I can be with them as much as I want now," Shaw said.

Jackie Maxwell, general manager of the Missouri-based Break Time convenience store chain, was at the store doing a telephone interview with The Associated Press when Shaw walked in and announced 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."

Break Time will receive $50,000 for selling the winning ticket. If Shaw takes a lump-sum payment, the state income taxes due on the winnings would be about $6 million, state budget director Linda Luebbering said.

 


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