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One family shares $340 million lottery jackpot

Winner calls largest jackpot in Powerball history 'scary'

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Oregon
Gaming and Lotteries

(CNN) -- Two Oregon couples Tuesday claimed the second-largest lottery jackpot in history -- an announced $340 million -- which the woman who bought the ticket called "a tremendous blessing."

Frances and Bob Chaney, their daughter, Carolyn West, and her husband, Steve, told reporters that they will share the prize from the October 19 Powerball drawing.

They went to Oregon State Lottery headquarters in Salem to verify their ticket and inform authorities how they want the money distributed.

The four, who chipped in to buy $40 worth of tickets at Ray's Food Place in the small town of Jacksonville, in southwest Oregon, will take their winnings in one lump sum of $164.4 million, before taxes, said Frances Chaney, 68.

Powerball spokeswoman Marlene Meissner said that would come to about $110 million after taxes.

The couples' other payment option would have been 30 annual installments of about $8 million each after taxes.

"I'm still in disbelief that we won the big one," Chaney said. "We have a long road ahead of us, and I just pray every day that the Lord will lead us and guide us with this blessing he has bestowed on us."

She added, "I'm glad we are able to share with our family."

Asked how they planned to spend the money, Chaney said her 72-year-old husband had been wanting a yellow Hummer: "There is one in our driveway now."

She said they waited a while before coming forward so they could get legal and financial advice. She said she couldn't believe their luck.

"I went on the Internet that night to check the numbers," she said.

When she found a match, she checked several other Web sites before calling her daughter to tell her the news.

The family checked and rechecked. Then they heard that the winning number was in Oregon, with a ticket bought in Jacksonville, "and we thought, 'Maybe it is us.'"

Steve West, who is self-employed, said he will continue working -- "to keep us grounded." He said he may buy a sports car, and his wife wants a new car, but "we plan on not changing a lot."

The media attention already has changed his life, he said, with people recognizing him everywhere he goes.

"You daydream a lot of times about what you'd do with the money," West said. "But you don't really expect how it would change your life and how things around you might change, until you've actually won the money, and things then begin to fall into place. It's scary."

The odds against matching five numbered balls (out of 55) and one red ball (out of 42) to win the grand prize add up to one in 146,107,962, lottery officials said.

The $340 million jackpot was the largest in Powerball history. This year's previous biggest Powerball winner was Brad Duke of Star, Idaho, who won more than $125 million in May.

Twenty-seven states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands all participate in Powerball.

The biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history was $363 million, won by two ticket holders in Illinois and Michigan in 2000.

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