Small Fla. City Wonders Who Won Powerball Jackpot

ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (AP) -
The front of the Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills, Fla., on Sunday. (AP Photo/Scott Iskowitz)
The front of the Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills, Fla., on Sunday. (AP Photo/Scott Iskowitz)

Some lucky person walked into a Publix supermarket in suburban Florida over the past few days and bought a ticket now worth an estimated $590.5 million — the highest Powerball jackpot in history.

But it wasn’t Matthew Bogel. On Sunday, he loaded groceries into his car after shopping at the Publix. He shook his head when asked about the jackpot.

“It’s crazy, isn’t it?” he said. “That’s so much money.”

It’s an amount too high for many to imagine. Compare it to the budget for the city of Zephyrhills: This year’s figure is just more than $49 million. The winning Powerball jackpot is 12 times that.

Whoever has the ticket hadn’t come forward as of Sunday afternoon.

“This would be the sixth Florida Powerball winner and right now, it’s the sole winner of the largest ever Powerball jackpot,” Florida Lottery executive Cindy O’Connell told The Associated Press. “We’re delighted right now that we have the sole winner.”

Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said that there are a lot of rumors about who won, but the store doesn’t know. “We’re excited for the winner or winners,” she said.

Zephyrhills is a small city in Pasco County, about 30 miles northeast of downtown Tampa. Once a rural farming town, it’s now known as a hotbed for skydiving activity, and the home to large retiree mobile home parks and Zephyrhills bottled water.

And now, one lucky lottery ticket.

With four out of every five possible combinations of Powerball numbers in play, lottery executives said Saturday that someone was almost certain to win the game’s highest jackpot, a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars — and that’s after taxes.

The winning numbers were 10, 13, 14, 22 and 52, with a Powerball of 11.

Estimates had earlier put the jackpot at around $600 million. But Powerball’s online site said Sunday that the jackpot had reached an estimated $590.5 million.

The world’s largest jackpot was a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot in March 2012.

The chances of winning the prize were astronomically low: 1 in 175.2 million. That’s how many different ways you can combine the numbers when you play.