PASSAIC, N.J. (AP) — Pedro Quezada’s neighbors see a lot of themselves in the winner of the $338 million Powerball jackpot: hardworking, a family man, an immigrant, and someone who has known hard times.
That’s why they’re so thrilled that one of their own has finally struck it rich.
Quezada, 44, entered Eagle Liquors store, where his ticket was sold, late Monday afternoon. The Passaic store’s owner ran Quezada’s ticket through the lottery machine and, as a newspaper and television outlets recorded the moment, validated that it was a winner.
“This is super for all of us on this block,” said Eladia Vazquez, who has lived across the street from Quezada’s building for the past 25 years. Quezada and his family “deserve it because they are hardworking people.”
Quezada told reporters in Spanish that he was “very happy” and that he intends to help his family.
“I still can’t believe it,” his wife, Ines Sanchez, told The Record in Bergen County. “We never expected it, but thank God.”
The New Jersey Lottery confirmed that the winning ticket was validated at Eagle Liquors at 4:30 p.m. Monday, but officials said they didn’t yet know the winner’s name.
The numbers drawn Saturday were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31. A lump sum payout would be $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes. It’s the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history.
No one had won the Powerball jackpot since early February, when Dave Honeywell in Virginia bought the winning ticket and elected a cash lump sum for his $217 million jackpot.
The largest Powerball jackpot ever came in at $587.5 million in November. The winning numbers were picked on two different tickets — one by a couple in Missouri and the other by an Arizona man — and the jackpot was split.
Nebraska still holds the record for the largest Powerball jackpot won on a single ticket — $365 million — by eight workers at a Lincoln meatpacking plant in February 2006.
Powerball is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The chance of matching all five numbers and the Powerball number is about 1 in 175 million.