RALEIGH – A food inspector from Wilson hit the jackpot playing Carolina Cash 5. Minnie Atkinson said she doesn’t play the game often, but decided to try her luck in the Aug. 3 drawing because the jackpot had rolled to more than $300,000. She stopped at the Piggly Wiggly on South Parker Street in Wilson and bought six sets of Quick Pick numbers for $1 each.
Later that night, Atkinson watched the live lottery drawings on WRAL-TV. She wrote down the winning numbers for Carolina Cash 5 and compared them to her numbers. Atkinson saw that one set of her numbers matched all five.
“I just sat there speechless,” she recalled. “I couldn’t go to sleep.”
Atkinson beat odds of 575,757 to win. Her $323,228 prize is the largest ever awarded to a Carolina Cash 5 jackpot winner from Wilson County. A North Carolina native, Atkinson said she planned to use her after-tax winnings of $219,795 to buy a home.
Since the lottery began through June 30, 2011, Wilson County education programs received more than $15.6 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 college scholarships and financial aid based on need.
To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.45 billion for these initiatives statewide.