$1 million Powerball prize goes to retired Coast Guardsman

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Ronald Statzer (Photo: NC Education Lottery)

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Ronald Statzer of Elizabeth City woke his wife up Thursday morning with some good news: “How does it feel to be a millionaire?”

Statzer, a retired U.S. Coast Guardsman and an early riser, brought the news to his wife after checking his Powerball tickets for Wednesday’s drawing. The day before, he purchased five Quick Pick tickets from the 7-Eleven on Patrick Way in Elizabeth City and left them by his computer to check when he woke up.

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“The first one I picked up, I looked at it and I went to the Internet to verify the numbers,” Statzer said. “I saw the first one come up, the second one, the third, the fourth one, and then the fifth one. And I said, ‘Oh my God,’ and I went downstairs and told my wife.”

Statzer said his wife didn’t believe him. “She said, ‘What?’” he recalled. “And I said, ‘I just won $1 million. And that’s pretty much what happened this morning.”

The odds of matching all five white balls are 1 in 11.6 million. Statzer’s lucky ticket was one of three nationally that matched all five numbers in Wednesday’s drawing.

Statzer drove to Raleigh later that morning and claimed his prize at lottery headquarters. He took home $707,501 after required federal and state tax withholdings. “One of the first things I am going to do is pay off my truck,” he said. “Other than that, I don’t know. Not yet. We will be thinking about it.”

No one won the jackpot in Wednesday’s drawing. If someone in North Carolina wins the jackpot on Saturday, they have the choice of taking a $457 million annuity or a lump sum of $331.6 million. The odds of winning a Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292 million. On Friday night, North Carolinians also can play for a major Mega Millions jackpot of $405 million as an annuity or $294.7 million cash. The odds of winning a Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302 million.