Will Critzer, a carpenter from Sims in Nash County, thought he was lucky Monday when he caught five bass before work, but the biggest catch of the day turned out to be a $4 million lottery win.

“I was having a good morning,” Critzer said shortly afterward at N.C. Education Lottery headquarters in Raleigh. “And I remembered I had bought that ticket and I went and scratched it. There it was. A good morning got better.”

Critzer’s catch made him the second person in the state to win the top prize in the $4,000,000 Gold Bullion game. He bought the lucky ticket at the P.K. Mart on Raleigh Road in Wilson.

Players who win the game’s top prize have the option of claiming it as a 20-year annuity or a lump sum option that can be claimed in either cash or gold bullion.

“I’ve actually dreamed that this would happen,” said Critzer, who chose the cash option of $2.4 million. After taxes were withheld, he received a check for $1.6 million.

Critzer came to collect his prize with his wife, Donna, and his two young children. He said he knew exactly what to do with his winnings: “I’ve got two kids to pay for college and retirement,” he said.

Along with draw games, sales of instant tickets make it possible for the N.C. Education Lottery to raise money for education programs in all 100 counties.
Since the lottery began through June 30, 2012, Nash County education programs received more than $26.4 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, college scholarships and financial aid based on need, and digital learning.

The N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.9 billion for these initiatives statewide.