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Dad's Powerball lottery win causes honor student to miss exam

Oct 26, 2005, 9:12 am

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OSU student loses sleep, misses an exam after family wins huge Powerball prize

Who can think about school when your family's net worth suddenly stretches to nine numbers?

Curtis West, the son of the reported $340 million Powerball jackpot winners, said he was so excited about the news that he missed one of his midterm exams at Oregon State University.

"I ended up not getting any sleep and when I did finally fall asleep I slept through my exam," the freshman wrote in an e-mail to the Mail Tribune newspaper.

"Everyone is really excited and I am as well, but it has just happened too quickly and I'm having kind of a hard time adjusting to the fact that my life is going to be different," he said.

While Curtis West had an e-mail exchange with a reporter, his parents, Steve and Carolyn, continue to maintain their silence.

Steve West, 48, plans to validate his winnings in Salem later this week, said Chuck Baumann, a lottery spokesman who took the rare step of contacting the family on Monday.

"I invoked the $340 million rule for calling winners before they called in," Baumann said.

Baumann said he was also calling to investigate rumors that the winning ticket was bought by a 17-year-old, which would violate Oregon law.

If true, it would trigger an investigation of the retailer, believed to be Ray's Food Place in Jacksonville.

"I don't think it would have jeopardized the prize," Baumann said.

Steve West said the ticket was purchased by an adult, but he didn't name the buyer. Randy Lewis, manager of Ray's, said his store checks the identification of all questionable players.

"We don't sell to minors," Lewis said.

Meanwhile, Curtis West, one of the family's four children, is once again hitting the books. An honor student who graduated from North Medford High School in June, the liberal arts major said he's coming to terms with the jackpot.

"The whole thing just feels very surreal to me because this kind of thing doesn't happen to people you know, much less yourself or your family," he wrote.

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