Columbus County in-laws split Cash 5 jackpot

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James Williamson and Christopher Pridgen of Columbus County claim their Cash 5 jackpot at NC Education Lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Jan. 24, 2019. (Photo: NC Education Lottery)

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A pair of Columbus County men share family ties, and now they’re sharing a $1,482,698 lottery jackpot. 

James Williamson of Chadbourn and Christopher Pridgen of Whiteville, who are in-laws, decided to start playing together after they found out the last $1 million Cash 5 winners played as a family.

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“I thought, ‘Hey. That’s a good strategy,'” Pridgen, a hog farmer, said in a news release from the NC Education Lottery. “I texted James and asked him if he wanted to get tickets together once the jackpot was over $400,000. He agreed, and we each started chipping in ten bucks.”

Wednesday, Williamson stopped at the Time Saver Food Mart on Washington Street in Whiteville and bought $20 worth of Cash 5 tickets. The lumberyard equipment operator checked the tickets when he got to work the next morning.

“I looked at the tickets and was like, ‘Oh, my! I think I got all the numbers,'” Williamson said in the release.



He took a picture of the ticket and sent it to Pridgen to double check.

“It’s just surreal,” Pridgen said. “You see the numbers but you can’t believe what you’re seeing. It’s a complete feeling of shock.”

They claimed the jackpot Thursday afternoon at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required state and federal tax withholdings, they split $1,049,010. Pridgen plans to start college funds for his two children. Williamson plans to invest the money.

“I always dreamed of winning,” Williamson said. “I never thought I actually would. It’s just incredible.”

The ticket matched all five numbers, beating odds of one in 962,598. Cash 5 is a statewide draw game that gives players the chance to win a jackpot every single night. This is the second time in two months that the jackpot has reached over $1 million. This is the second highest Cash 5 jackpot won in North Carolina.