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$338M N.J. Powerball winner says he'll help family

By David Porter

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:42 p.m. HST, Mar 25, 2013

PASSAIC, N.J. »  The winner of a $338 million Powerball jackpot told several media outlets today that his first priority will be helping his family.

Pedro Quezada, 44, entered Eagle Liquors store, where the ticket was sold, late this afternoon. The Passaic store owner ran Quezada's ticket through the lottery machine to validate that it was a winner as a newspaper and television outlets recorded the moment.

The New Jersey Lottery confirmed that the winning ticket was validated at the store at 4:30 p.m. Monday, but officials said they didn't yet know the winner's name.

Quezada, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, told reporters in Spanish that he was "very happy" and that he intends to help his family.

His wife, Ines Sanchez, told The Record in Bergen County that Quezada called her with the news this afternoon.

"I still can't believe it," she said. "We never expected it but thank God."

The numbers drawn Saturday were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31. A lump sum payout would be $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes. It's the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history.

The family's apartment sits at the end of a short dead end block that abuts a highway in Passaic, 15 miles northwest of New York City. Neighbors spoke with pride that one of their own had struck it rich.

Eladia Vazquez has lived across the street from Quezada's building for the past 25 years. The block has a half-dozen three-story brick apartment buildings on each side, and Vazquez says it's a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone, including what car they drive and what parking space they use.

Vazquez described Quezada and his wife as "quiet and not overly talkative" but sensed that they seemed to be working all the time.

"This is super for all of us on this block," she said. "They deserve it because they are hardworking people."

Alberto Liranzo, who lives two floors below Quezada, said the lottery winner has five children and owns a bodega in Passaic.

Dominican immigrant Jose Gonzalez said he barbecues and plays domino with Quezada in the summers in a backyard on their street.

"He sometimes would work from six in the morning to 11 at night, so I did not see him much," Gonzalez said in Spanish. "I am happy for him. ... I don't know where he is now but I imagine he will drop by to say hi to his friends."

Richard Delgado, who lives down the block from Quezada's building, also described Quezada as "a hard worker, like all of us here. We all get up in the morning and go to work."

Delgado said he got up Sunday morning and was going to take his dog for a walk when he heard the radio announce the Powerball results.

"When I heard there was one winner and it was in New Jersey, I immediately went and checked my tickets," Delgado said. "I wanted to be that guy."

When asked what it would be like to suddenly win such a large amount, Delgado said a person would have to set priorities.

"No. 1 is your health, because if you don't have that, the rest doesn't matter," he said. "No. 2 is your family. You take care of your own and live the rest of your life in peace. That's all anyone can do."

No one had won the Powerball jackpot since early February, when Dave Honeywell in Virginia bought the winning ticket and elected a cash lump sum for his $217 million jackpot.

The largest Powerball jackpot ever came in at $587.5 million in November. The winning numbers were picked on two different tickets — one by a couple in Missouri and the other by an Arizona man — and the jackpot was split.

Nebraska still holds the record for the largest Powerball jackpot won on a single ticket — $365 million — by eight workers at a Lincoln meatpacking plant in February 2006.

Powerball is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The chance of matching all five numbers and the Powerball number is about 1 in 175 million.


Associated Press writers Claudia Torrens in Passaic and Angela Delli Santi in Lawrenceville, N.J., contributed to this report.

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serious wrote:
And Hawaii rather than having a lottery wants another tax on gas.
on March 25,2013 | 11:32AM
juscasting wrote:
Yup..HI dumb...
on March 25,2013 | 12:41PM
olos73 wrote:
Anti-gambling people would rather give their money to the State, instead of letting people that buy lottery tickets put money into the coffers. Plus, certain winning tickets is taxed and that money goes into the coffers too. Can't understand them.
on March 25,2013 | 02:16PM
inverse wrote:
Legalize a lottery in Hawaii. No more B S arguments that a Hawaii lottery would turn Hawaii into So dom and Gom orrah. Oh wait a minute, Lingle, Aiona and the former people in charge of the Hawaii Repub party were making that argument not too long ago if civil unions were to occur in Hawaii. Now with civil unions in Hawaii and rainbows that continue to be seen at UH Manoa, no one so far has been turned into a pillar of salt., Without a Hawaii lottery, Hawaii residents are only sending their disposable income to Nevada, Bo yds gaming, etc AND to illegal gaming parlors and people who run illegal gambling businesses in Hawaii.
on March 25,2013 | 05:05PM
64hoo wrote:
if we had a legalized lottery here you folks would all complain when a visitor to Hawaii would come down here and win are lottery. so stop grumbling about we need a lottery here you people would only grumble more if no Hawaii resident won the lottery
on March 25,2013 | 06:15PM
olos73 wrote:
Even if a visitor won the lottery, at least the State would get money from the tickets sold. And, there wouldn't be only ONE winner. There's also smaller cash prizes. In this lottery, 13 other people from different states won ONE MILLION DOLLARS EACH. Who knows how many other winners there were. If I have to give the State any of my money, I wouldn't mind giving it from my lottery tickets, instead of them taking it. If you don't want to buy lottery tickets, THEN DON'T. Life is a gamble, so let people who want to buy tickets, buy. It's THEIR MONEY, NOT YOURS.
on March 25,2013 | 06:54PM
olos73 wrote:
@64hoo, you must like just giving YOUR money to the State. I sure as heck don't. The more money the State gets from lottery tickets sold, and the taxes they collect from the Hawaii winners, that's less money the rest of us has to come up with to pay for this, and pay for that.
on March 25,2013 | 07:01PM
olos73 wrote:
@64hoo, also, the Powerball lottery is played in 42 other states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, so the winner can win in any of these places. The winner in this lottery is from New Jersey. The 1 million dollar winners bought their tickets in Arizona, Florida (2), Illinois, Minnesota, N. Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania (2), S. Carolina and Virginia. So, the $$$ is spread out.
on March 25,2013 | 07:19PM
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