RALEIGH – Fred McNeil was expecting family from out of town to arrive at his Holly Springs home sometime early Friday morning. So he wasn’t surprised when a phone call woke him from sleep to confirm they would be there in a few minutes. As he waited, McNeil decided to check the lottery’s website for the most recent drawing results. By the time he heard a knock at the door, McNeil discovered good luck had already come his way: He won the $420,731 Carolina Cash 5 jackpot Thursday night.

McNeil had stopped Thursday afternoon at the Sunset Mart on Holly Springs Road to buy a $1 Pick 3 ticket. Paying with a $5 bill, he used the other $4 to purchase four sets of Quick Pick numbers for the nightly Carolina Cash 5 drawing. One set of McNeil’s Cash 5 numbers won $5. Another beat odds of 1 in 757,575 to match all five numbers to win the jackpot.

“I’m very thankful for this gift that’s been bestowed on me,” McNeil said as he collected his prize money at lottery headquarters Friday afternoon. “I’m very fortunate.”

McNeil, an electronics technician, planned to use his after-tax winnings of $286,097 to pay off his mortgage, buy Christmas presents for his grandkids and grandnephews and nieces, and donate to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Ticket sales for games such as Carolina Cash 5 have enabled the lottery to raise more than $2.58 billion for education initiatives statewide. Since the lottery began through June 30, 2012, Wake County education programs received more than $189.4 million in lottery funds. By law, those funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, and need-based college scholarships and financial aid.

A Carolina Cash 5 promotion that runs through next summer gives players extra chances to win $50,000. The first of five Bonus Bucks drawings was held Nov. 14. In each drawing, five prizes are awarded: One $50,000 grand prize, one $5,000 prize, and three $1,000 prizes. The next drawing is set for Jan. 16, 2013.

To get a Bonus Bucks entry slip, a Cash 5 purchase of $5 must be made in one of two ways. A player can select five sets of numbers for one drawing on a single ticket or choose one set of numbers for five drawings on a single ticket. Along with the $5 Cash 5 ticket, an entry slip for the Bonus Bucks drawing will be issued at no extra cost. The entry slip received at the time of purchase must be kept by the player and then validated at one of the lottery’s regional claim centers to collect a prize won in the drawing.