Mega Million Jackpot Winner Steps Forward

Wednesday, March 7th 2007, 5:59 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ When Ed Nabors discovered that he had won half of the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, he sat stunned in his rig until a dispatcher radioed wondering what was going on.

Wednesday turned out to be a short workday for the 52-year-old truck driver.

``He was shaking so hard they sent him home from work,'' said his mother, Doris Nabors, who shares a home with her son in Rocky Face, Ga., about 90 miles north of Atlanta.

Ed Nabors was the first person to claim part of the $390 million jackpot from Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing. The only other winning ticket was sold at a liquor store in New Jersey, and the holder did not immediately come forward Wednesday.

Nabors did not check his $10 worth of lottery tickets before going to bed Tuesday, and it wasn't until a co-worker told him that a winning ticket was bought at his regular convenience store that he decided to take a look.

``I'm still numb,'' Nabors said.

He elected to take his winnings in a lump sum instead of annual installments, and will get $116.5 million before taxes, or more than $80 million after.

He bought his ticket Tuesday morning at a convenience store in Dalton close to a carpet mill run by his employer, Mohawk Industries. Nabors said he usually gets a cup of coffee at the store at least once a week. ``That's what I was doing that day,'' Nabors said.

When asked whether he would keep working, Nabors said: ``At least two more days.''

``I'm going to do a lot of fishing,'' he said. He also said he plans to buy a house for his daughter, who has wanted to move out of her mobile home for a long time.

Within hours after it was announced that the ticket was sold at the Favorite Market gas station in Dalton, the store's parking lot was packed with news crews seeking interviews with store employees.

Assistant store manager Rachel Gentry said that about 90 percent of the store's customers are regulars.

``I'd know him if I'd seen him, but by name I don't,'' clerk Chris Johnson said about Nabors.

Connie Sexton, who has managed the Favorite Market for 15 years, said it sold about 100 Mega Millions tickets on Tuesday. Most of its tickets are sold to employees of the carpet mills in Dalton, the self-proclaimed ``Carpet Capital of the World.''

Lottery officials said the store will get $25,000 for selling a winning ticket.

Georgia Lottery officials said sales were so brisk Tuesday that 10 million of the $1 tickets were sold on that day alone in Georgia, and another 40 million were sold in California.

The winning numbers _ 16-22-29-39-42, with the Mega Ball 20 _ were announced Tuesday night in New York's Times Square, where the 12 participating Mega Millions states agreed to move the drawing from Atlanta after the jackpot hit $355 million Monday. The odds of winning were about 1 in 176 million.

The largest previous multistate lottery jackpot was $365 million in 2006, when eight workers at a Nebraska meat processing plant hit the Powerball lotto. The Big Game lotto, the forerunner of Mega Millions, paid out a $363 million jackpot in 2000.

Mega Millions tickets are sold in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington state.