The Georgia lottery winner of the Mega Millions windfall has wasted no time coming forward to claim a share in the $636 million jackpot.
In an exclusive news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Georgia lottery officials confirmed that the woman is Ira Curry, of Stone Mountain, which is located approximately 20 miles east of Atlanta's metropolitan area.
Georgia Lottery chief executive, Debbie Alford indicated that Curry has opted to take a lump sum amount, which comes to a total of $123 million after taxes. "She has not decided how she'll spend those winnings," Alford said during the exclusive news conference earlier today. Associated Press reports that Curry was not in attendance for the news conference, but officials shared that Curry actually hadn't watched the drawing last night.
While driving to work this morning, a radio personality was discussing the Mega Millions lottery announcing that a winning ticket had been purchased in Atlanta, GA, and that the Mega Ball number was 7. The information immediately caught her attention, because she knew the number on her ticket was 7, as well. Curry, then called her daughter to check the numbers on the one ticket she purchased. Curry's inspiration behind picking the winning numbers was the birthdays of family members.
"Between joyful tears and laughter on the daughter's part, she relayed to her mother that her mother had won the lottery," Alford said.
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) December 18, 2013
Alford also stated that when Curry and her husband arrived at the lottery headquarters, she was in a state of shock, still not believing that she had actually won the lottery.
"She said she was just in a state of disbelief," Alford said. Curry also expressed that she didn't believe she'd actually won until lottery officials confirmed and congratulated her on the 'nearly impossible' feat.
Georgia lottery officials were also surprised to see that the winning came forward so quickly, as they weren't expecting anyone to surface for days, possibly even weeks.
Several media outlets have made attempts to contact Curry personally, but to no avail. When the media contacted the phone listing for Curry's residence, someone answered and said, "We are not interested in any publicity, thank you for calling," before abruptly hanging up. However, Curry's neighbor, Kaliah Ladler, 18, did speak quite fondly of the family. "Some people get big headed but I don't think they'll get big headed. They will probably use it for good," he said.
The winning ticket was purchased at a Gateway Newstand in the upscale Buckhead area of Atlanta. The other half of the winning proceeds will be split with another winner who has yet to come forward. The second winning ticket was purchased at Jennifer's Gift Shop in San Jose, CA.
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