Smithfield lottery prize winner named

Published 7:16 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2021

A Powerball ticket sold at the Rushmere Food Mart made a Halifax County woman a winner.
Donna Thornton told her son to pick up a ticket for her this past summer. She also told him the numbers she wanted to play for the Aug. 19 drawing. He bought the ticket at the convenience store at 4761 Old Stage Highway near Smithfield.

“He gave me the ticket after the drawing, and he said it was a winner,” Thornton said in a Jan. 27 announcement from Virginia Lottery officials. “I thought he was joking!”

The ticket turned out to be worth $2 million. The winning numbers for the drawing were 13-23-47-55-58, and the Powerball number was 23. The store received a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

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Thornton’s ticket matched the first five numbers, and missed only the Powerball number. Normally, that would win Powerball’s second prize of $1 million. However, her son spent an extra dollar for the Power Play when he bought the ticket, which doubled the prize to $2 million.

After the drawing, the $2 million prize went publicly unclaimed for months. Lottery officials said large prizes sometimes aren’t claimed immediately, even if the person knows they’re the winner.

Thornton, who is retired, said she intends to use the winnings to take care of her family.

Powerball tickets are sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays. According to state lottery officials, the odds of winning Powerball’s $1 million prize are about 1 in 11.6 million.