- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dreams of striking it rich drove area residents to play Powerball yesterday, when the jackpot hit a near-record $240 million.

At a Citgo gas station on New York Avenue in Northeast, customers came in waves to purchase tickets, and most were modest when asked about plans for their potential winnings.

“I’d probably give it away. A lot of people need money,” said T.M. Johnson, 72, a Capitol Heights resident who owns a fencing business. “I already own three trucks and one car; I don’t need any more of that junk.”

Mr. Johnson bought 45 tickets for $1 each.

Northwest resident Sally Struthers, 54, said she bought three tickets because “it only takes one to win.”

“I’d probably pay off some debts and give some to charity,” she said. “I’d do something worthwhile with it.”

The $240 million would be the fifth-largest jackpot hit in Powerball history and the ninth-largest jackpot won in the world. The run for the drawing began Aug. 13, and last night’s drawing was the 18th since the run’s start.

Powerball officials said $387,507,151 worth of tickets have been sold nationwide since the run began. Although no one hit the jackpot in Saturday’s drawing, several players took smaller prizes, including Northwest resident Marlny Webster, who won $50,000 in Power Play.

“I’ve got one of those old D.C. homes,” said Mr. Webster, 63. “I think I’ll fix it up and save a bit for retirement.”

The largest Powerball winner in the game’s history was Jack Whitaker of West Virginia, who won a jackpot of $314.9 million on Christmas Eve 2002, said D.C. Lottery officials.

Powerball is played in 27 states, the District and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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