BOSTON (CBS) – The winner of the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot has been identified as Mavis Wanczyk of Chicopee.
Wanczyk, 53, a mother of two adult children, came to lottery headquarters in Braintree late Thursday morning to claim her prize and was introduced a short time later at a news conference. Now, she said, she’s “going to go hide in my bed.”
Wanczyk said she found out she had won as she was leaving work Wednesday night with a colleague.
“He’s reading these numbers, and I pull mine out, and I go, ‘Hey, I have that number…and I have that…I have that!'” she told reporters. “And he goes, ‘Let me see that ticket–you just won!'” she said.
“We have validated the ticket. It is indeed the winning ticket,” said Michael Sweeney, the Executive Director of the Lottery.
“Last night, it was kind of like I didn’t realize I won,” Wanczyk said. “Today, as I’m driving here, I’m still like, ‘this isn’t true, this can’t be.’ And now it’s like, uh, I am the winner and I’m scared, but I’ll be okay.”
“I want to be just me, and just be alone, and just be able to be me and figure out what I want to do,” she said.
So what will she do first?
“I just want to sit back and relax,” Wanczyk said. “I had a pipe dream, and my pipe dream has finally come true, I wanted to retire and it came early.”
She has been working at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield for 32 years – until Thursday.
“I have called and I have told them I will not be coming back.”
Wanczyk has a 31-year-old daughter and a 26-year-old son. Lottery rules allow the winner up to a year to come forward, but Wanczyk couldn’t wait.
“I just wanted to do this, I just wanted to get it over and done with and then everybody will just leave me alone,” she told reporters, who then asked her if she was already comfortable financially.
“I’ve been okay. I’m not gonna say I’m the richest person in the world, I can’t say I’m the poorest person in the world. I make do with what I have,” she said. “I just bought a car, September of last year, and I just plan on paying it off.”
The lone winning ticket in the nationwide lottery was sold at the Pride gas station and store on Montgomery Street in Chicopee.
“I was just there to buy it, for just luck,” Wanczyk said. “Just go in, buy a scratch ticket, and say maybe it’s me, maybe it won’t be me. It’s just a chance, a chance I had to take.”
“My numbers were kind of basically random, like maybe with our birthdays, one from here, one from there,” she said. “There’s a thing between me and my mom and my stepfather and I have a friend, we all go out to dinner on a Friday night and we play Keno, and our number is four. I just happened to choose, and it worked to my advantage.”
The store will get $50,000 for selling the winning ticket, which was purchased at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Pride owner Bob Bolduc.
“We’re going to give all the money to charity, that’s our pattern. We really believe in supporting local charities,” Bolduc told reporters.
The lottery initially said the Chicopee store had only sold a $1 million winner, but issued a correction just before 8 a.m. Thursday, more than six hours after announcing the lone winning ticket had been sold at Handy Variety on Common Street in Watertown.
There was a winning ticket sold at the Watertown shop, but it was for just $1 million.
“When manually recording the names of the retailers that sold the jackpot winning ticket and the $1 million winning tickets, the information was transcribed incorrectly,” Sweeney said in a statement.
“I think we had a couple of excited people in a computer room at one in the morning being a little nervous about handling a $700 million winner,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
So how does something like this happen?
“Human error, plain and simple,” Sweeney said. “If anyone’s looking for anyone to blame, the buck stops here with me, the executive director.”
The winning numbers were 6-7-16-23-26 with the Powerball 4.
Wanczyk returned to her home in Chicopee Thursday night. Chicopee Police said they would be keeping an extra eye on her.
“I want to stay at my own house in my own peace and quiet,” she told reporters outside her home.
According to the Massachusetts Lottery, this is the largest jackpot won by a single ticket in North American lottery history.
Another $1 million ticket was sold at Sandy’s Variety on Washington Street in Dorchester.
“What happens is, the $50,000 will go to the store that actually sold the winning ticket, which is Pride station and store out in Chicopee. The good news for the people out here is that, in Watertown, a $1 million winning prize ticket was sold, as well as an additional $1 million sold in Dorchester. There is a prize for those, up to $10,000 on the $1 million prize,” Sweeney said.
This is the fourth time a Powerball jackpot winning ticket has been sold in Massachusetts. The others were in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports