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Monday, 27 August, 2001, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Jobless single dad splits US jackpot
David Edwards, who says he is won of the winners of the Powerball lottery
David Edwards: "I just praised God and Jesus."
An unemployed, divorced father from the state of Kentucky has come forward as one of the four winners of a $294.8m US lottery.

"I was just stunned. I just praised God and Jesus," David Edwards, a recently laid-off fibre-optics technician, told The Daily Independent of Ashland, Kentucky.

I said to myself, I'm going to look at the numbers and the first ones that come to mind, those are the ones I'm gonna pick

David Edwards, apparent winner
Three other winning tickets in the Powerball lottery were sold in New Hampshire, Delaware and Minnesota but their owners have not yet claimed their prizes.

Of those states, Delaware has a law allowing the winner to remain anonymous. The names of the three other winners will be made public after they step forward.

Mr Edwards, a 46-year-old father of an 11-year-old girl, said he bought the winning ticket Saturday night at Clark's Pump n' Shop near Ashland, in northeast Kentucky.

Winner advised 'get a lawyer'

Kentucky Lottery officials confirmed that the winning ticket was bought in that shop, but did not say whether it was Mr Edwards.

"Obviously, the individual is very excited in winning the prize," Kentucky Lottery President and Chief Executive Arch Gleason told a news conference.

Mr Gleason revealed only that the winner was a male resident of Kentucky, and that his winning ticket was validated at the store on Sunday.

A woman buys a ticket in Washington DC
Hoping to get lucky despite odds of 80 million to one
He said he advised the winner to talk to a lawyer and accountant, and instructed him to bring his ticket to the state lottery headquarters in Louisville, so his win could be made official.

"I think he's got a tight grip on [the ticket]," Mr Gleason said. "I don't think anyone could pry that out of his hands."

Each of the lottery's four winners will receive $73.7 million, or $2.9 million per year for 25 years as an annuity.

Mr Edwards said that part of the money would go to treat his ex-wife, who has been battling Lupus for 12 years, and some would pay for surgery on his own bad back.

But on Sunday, Mr Edwards was spotted driving a silver convertible Mercedes-Benz with his fiancee.

He told the newspaper a friend had loaned him the car "until I can get one of my own".

Random numbers

Mr Edwards said he had bought $8 worth of tickets and chose the numbers at random.

"I said to myself, I'm going to look at the numbers and the first ones that come to mind, those are the ones I'm gonna pick," he said.

The winning numbers drawn Saturday night in Des Moines, Iowa, were 8-17-22-42-47 plus the extra Powerball number of 21.

Sales were stronger than expected just before the drawing and boosted the jackpot to $295 million, just $700,000 shy of the second-largest lottery payout in US history.

The biggest Powerball jackpot ever won was $295.7m by a group of factory workers in Ohio.

The record for the biggest lottery win in the US is the $363m Big Game jackpot won last year by two players in Michigan and Illinois.

The odds of winning the Powerball are one in 80 million.

Winning tickets

Lottery spokesman Joe Mahoney told the BBC he was pleased that the huge win was split among several people.

One winning ticket was sold at a Cumberland Farms store in Rollingsford, New Hampshire, a town of 2,700 people near the Maine border.

An employee of the store said she had received a call notifying her of the win.

Maura McCann, spokeswoman for the New Hampshire lottery, said the lottery commission had informed her there was a winner.

"I was thrilled, absolutely thrilled," she said.

The store owner will get 1% of the value of the winning ticket, up to a limit of $30,000.

See also:

06 May 00 | Americas
Jumbo jackpot swells lottery fever
10 Jan 00 | e-cyclopedia
Affluenza: What's bugging millionaires?
12 Feb 00 | Middle East
Lottery car drives couple apart
17 Nov 99 | Americas
Divorcee loses lottery jackpot
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