A Pasquotank County man who won $182,500 in the North Carolina Education Lottery Saturday is still in awe of his good fortune.
Don Hibbets matched all five numbers in Saturday’s Cash 5 drawing, earning him half of a $365,092 jackpot. A Greensboro woman, who also had the winning five numbers, claimed the other half.
Hibbets, an electronics technician at Hoffer Flow Controls, said he and his wife, Veronica, went to Raleigh Monday to claim his prize.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Hibbets said on Tuesday. “Everything is still kind of like normal right now, I guess, until I actually cash the check and start spending it.”
Hibbets already has plans for his winnings, which total $124,131 after state and federal taxes are withheld.
He intends to use part of the money to buy a new truck. The rest will be spent paying bills, making repairs to his home and taking a Disney World vacation with his family.
Hibbets bought the winning ticket at the Express Mart off Weeksville Road. Hibbets said he went to the store Saturday to find out whether three Powerball tickets he purchased earlier were winners. None of the three resulted in any winnings.
Hibbets also had two Cash 5 tickets, but he wanted to wait a bit longer before checking those tickets because they were still good for three more drawings. The North Carolina Education Lottery conducts Cash 5 drawings daily, with the top prize starting at $50,000 and continuing to grow each time no one matches all five numbers drawn.
Express Mart owner Talal Albarati encouraged Hibbets to let his Cash 5 tickets be scanned. Albarati checked the first ticket, running it through a scanner. Nothing happened.
Then, Albarati checked the second ticket. Immediately, the scanner indicated Hibbets had won, and that he could claim his prize in Raleigh.
Realizing what had happened, Hibbets said he began shaking. He quickly asked Albarati for a pen so he could sign the ticket.
Albarati said he was so happy for Hibbets that he congratulated him with a handshake.
“Good for you, man!” Albarati said he told Hibbets.
Albarati said Tuesday he was confident that, if there was going be a Cash 5 winner in the area, the winner would be one of his customers. His Express Mart sold another Cash 5 ticket about five years ago, he said. That winning ticket was worth approximately $150,000.
Hibbets, who has worked for Hoffer Flow Controls for more than 16 years, said he took the big facsimile lottery check to work on Tuesday. He said his co-workers have offered him their congratulations as well.
“They were all rubbing my souvenir check,” he said.
Before North Carolina started its own lottery six years ago, Hibbets said he used to play the Virginia lottery at the Border Station. He estimates he won approximately $1,800 playing Virginia’s lottery over the years, but “nothing this big.”
Hibbets said he turns 56 in a week.
“So, it’s a nice birthday present, too,” he said.
According to the N.C. Education Lottery, the odds of matching all five numbers in the Cash 5 game are one in 575,757.
Contact Bill West at email@example.com