5/18/2009 - 2:24 PM
Longtime Friends Claim $1 Million Powerball Prize
|Kerri Oliver and Rita Stafford, both of Arkansas, display their "big check" for $1 million, their Powerball prize for matching all five white ball numbers and adding Power Play to their ticket for the May 6 drawing.
Longtime friends Kerri Oliver and Rita Stafford, both of Arkansas, have shared a lot over the many years they've known each other. Now they'll add a $1 million Powerball prize to that list after claiming the prize at Louisiana Lottery headquarters.
"We grew up together," said Oliver, age 27. "This was the fourth time we'd bought tickets. We sat down and said no matter what we win - $15 or a million - we"ll split it down the middle."
"She's the only person I would trust to do something like this with," added Stafford, age 29. "We promised each other this wouldn't come between us."
Oliver bought the ticket for the May 6 drawing and was determined to catch the live drawing show once her three children were put to sleep. "I got down to the TV stand and wrote the numbers down as they came up," explained Oliver. "I held my breath until the Powerball number came up."
"Rita was sleeping when I tried to call her, so I left her a message to call me no matter what time it was," said Oliver. Stafford called her the following morning.
"I don't even remember what she said," laughed Stafford. "We didn't think we would ever actually win. We always would just joke around."
Oliver said she plans to save most of her half of the prize and take her children on a vacation. Stafford said she plans to buy a house.
Oliver and Stafford received $700,000 after required federal and state tax withholdings.
Their ticket matched all five white-ball numbers drawn to win $200,000. Because they added the Power Play option to their ticket, their prize was automatically multiplied by five, bringing their total winnings to $1 million.
For an additional $1 per play, Powerball players can purchase the Power Play option to multiply any nonjackpot prize up to five times, depending upon the Power Play number randomly selected during the drawing. Starting in January 2009, the 5X multiplier is automatically applied to "match-5" prizes, when the Power Play option is purchased.
The Louisiana Lottery had three $1 million Powerball winners in three consecutive drawings with those players opting to purchase the Power Play add-on. One of the three tickets, purchased in West Monroe from the April 29 drawing, has yet to be claimed.
Norsworthy's on Crossett Road in Bastrop sold Oliver and Stafford their winning ticket and will receive a one-time bonus of $10,000 or 1 percent of the prize amount.
The winning numbers for the May 6 Powerball drawing were 7-8-12-22-31 and the Powerball number was 18.
Ticket purchasers must be at least 21 years of age. The Lottery encourages anyone who may have a gambling problem or friends and family of anyone with a gambling problem to call toll free 1-877-770-7867 for help. For security purposes, the Lottery strongly encourages players to sign the back of their tickets immediately after purchasing. More information about other Powerball winners can be found in the "Meet Our Winners" section of the Lottery's Web site.