RALEIGH – Thanks to a last-minute whim, Mary Lockey of Waynesville in Haywood County won the $186,960 Carolina Cash 5 jackpot the first time she ever played the game.
Lockey, an academic adviser at Western Carolina University, and a co-worker felt that they should try something other than Powerball and Mega Millions. On Monday, they each picked their own numbers and set off to try their luck playing Cash 5.
Just before making her purchase, Lockey decided to add one row of Quick Pick numbers to her ticket. The instinct paid off in a big way as the final row of numbers matched all five balls in the May 7 drawing, winning the jackpot.
Lockey was at home making breakfast for her son on Tuesday morning when she checked her numbers on the lottery’s website.
“I turned on the computer and looked at my ticket,” Lockey said. “I had to get up and look out the window for a minute. Then I checked the ticket again and my hands started tingling. They are still tingling right now.”
After taxes were withheld, Lockey received a check for $127,133. She plans to use her winnings to make repairs to her home, help send her son to college and maybe take a trip. She purchased the winning ticket at Catamount Travel Center on Little Savannah Road in Cullowhee.
Lockey said she appreciates that the money spent on lottery tickets goes to help schools and students.
“It is important to fund education however we can,” Lockey said. “The lottery certainly helps many programs and institutions.”
Since the lottery began through June 30, 2011, Haywood County education programs received more than $8.8 million in lottery funds. By law, those funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, need-based college scholarships and prekindergarten programs.
To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.35 billion for these initiatives statewide.