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S.C. man claims $1 million Powerball lottery prize

Oct 11, 2005, 6:52 am

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Lucky lottery player Francis H. Stephenson says big prize won't change his life

Francis H. Stephenson figures his luck has changed dramatically since last year.

On Monday, he grasped a giant check as he was named the first S.C. resident to win $1 million in the state lottery's Powerball Power Play Match 5 game. A year ago, he was battling cancer and had a portion of his lung removed.

Despite the reversal of fortunes, the 60-year-old maintenance supervisor for Superior Essex, a telephone cable manufacturer in Chester, said he doesn't expect his life to change. After the announcement of his good fortune, he left the Columbia lottery headquarters to return to his job.

Stephenson bought his ticket from the Pantry Express No. 444 on J.A. Cochran Bypass in Chester. He paid an extra $1 for the Power Play option. On Sunday morning, he saw the winning numbers in the paper and thought he won $500,000.

"I told my wife I won $500,000. Then my son said, 'Dad, are you sure? They changed the game, and I think you won $1 million.'"

His winning numbers were 26, 31, 35, 46 and 50. The Powerball number was 28. The Power Play number was 5.

About one-quarter of the $1 million lump-sum prize will be withheld for taxes, South Carolina lottery officials said.

Stephenson bought about $20 worth of tickets. His largest previous winning was $100, he said. He typically got tickets each week, but before he bought the latest round, he had missed about two weeks.

With his winnings, Stephenson said, he'll buy a new pickup truck next month, as he had planned to do anyway. Otherwise, he won't spend a lot of money.

He wants to retire in three years, so he'll put the lottery winnings into an investment account.

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