RALEIGH - Steven Walker of Winston-Salem usually plays Carolina Cash 5 numbers based on family birthdays that are significant to him. But it was a set of numbers he chose at random that won him a significant prize.
Walker purchased four sets of numbers for the June 23 drawing at the Quality Mart on Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem: Two sets of familiar numbers, one set of computer-generated Quick Pick numbers, and one set he chose at random. His random picks matched all five numbers drawn on Saturday night to win the $106,339 jackpot.
"I'll probably play those numbers forever," Walker said as he collected his prize money at lottery headquarters.
Walker didn't realize he was the jackpot winner for more than two days after the drawing. Tuesday, he took some of his Cash 5 tickets to a store to have them scanned. When the terminal played the lottery jingle, Walker knew he had won at least $600.
"'You know there was a winner in Winston on Reynolda Road,'" Walker recalled the clerk saying to him. Walker asked for a print-out of recent draw results and discovered he beat odds of 1 in 575,757 to hit the jackpot.
"It's a blessing," he said. "It's a pretty neat experience."
Walker, who works in the hardwood flooring industry, said his after-tax winnings of $72,310 would be used to pay bills.
"It's a nice little chunk of change," Walker said.
Since the lottery began through June 30, 2011, Forsyth County education programs received more than $63.7 million in lottery funds. By law, those funds pay for teacher's salaries in grades K-3, school construction, preschool programs for at-risk four-year-olds, and need-based college scholarships and financial aid.
To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.35 billion for these initiatives statewide.