Apr 4, 2008, 8:41 am
David Sneath has worked at a Ford Motor Co. parts warehouse for 34 years, but it didn't take him any time at all to walk out once he discovered he had won a $136 million Mega Millions jackpot.
"I yelled to the boss, 'I'm out of here,'" Sneath said Thursday after going to state lottery headquarters in downtown Lansing to pick up his first $1 million check.
Sneath, of Livonia in suburban Detroit, said the reality of his win has yet to sink in.
"I still haven't touched base with Earth yet," he said. When he saw in a newspaper that he had a winning ticket, "my whole body went numb."
Sneath plans to buy a cottage on Mullett Lake in northern Michigan and maybe a new fishing boat or two to help him land the walleye he loves to catch. He's tired of misplacing his glasses and may get laser surgery to correct his vision. And he'll probably move out of his three-bedroom, two-bath ranch home, although he plans to stay in Michigan.
He's even considering a return to Eastern Michigan University to finish his bachelor's degree. He's eight credits shy of a major in warehousing and a minor in international marketing.
Sneath turned 60 on Tuesday, the day he won the jackpot. Friends and relatives at first thought it was an April Fool's joke.
"I called my sister; she didn't believe me. I called my daughter; she thought I was nuts," said Sneath, who said he made his first call to his ex-wife, Deborah.
Deborah, whom he called "my significant ex," attended the Thursday news conference where Sneath was presented with a large replica of a $136 million check. His daughter was there with her daughter, as was his son, who had bought the winning ticket on his father's behalf during trip to a gas station to get cigarettes.
Sneath plans to take a lump payment worth $84.3 million, or $59.6 million after taxes. On Thursday, he got the first $1 million; he'll get the remainder in a second payment. At the warehouse, he made $60,000 to $70,000 a year.
A self-described "character," Sneath generally kicked in $6 a week with four co-workers at his job in Brownstown to buy lottery tickets, spending half the money on tickets for Tuesday's draw and half for Friday's.
This time, his son bought him $15 worth of tickets, picking numbers Sneath suggested. The winning combination — 4, 17, 26, 46 and 56, plus 25 for the Mega Ball — were numbers Sneath once got as a random pick and continues to play.
But his four co-workers didn't entirely lose out. He plans to give them $1 million each out of his winnings.
Despite his longtime association with Ford, he said he won't be using any of the money to buy one of his former employer's vehicles.
"I worked for Ford Motor Co.," he said. "I won't be buying a Ford product."
Sneath's $136 million jackpot may seem like a lot, but it doesn't even come close to the record. The largest Mega Millions jackpot was $390 million in March last year, claimed by two winners in Georgia and New Jersey.
Mega Millions is a multistate lottery game offered in Michigan, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington state. Jackpots start at a guaranteed $12 million and grow when no one wins the jackpot.
Thanks to BobP for the tip
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