Pedro Quezada of Passaic, N.J., is the sole winner of the $338.3 million Powerball jackpot, the fourth-biggest prize in Powerball history.
An immigrant father of five, Quezada buys lottery tickets and a couple of beers at Eagle Liquors every day. “I can’t believe it,” said the 44-year-old as he claimed his prize. “I’m overwhelmed.”
Quezada used the game’s Quick Pick option and hit all five numbers and the Powerball. The odds of winning were 175 million to 1. The Dominican-born Quezada purchased the ticket on Saturday. The payout would come to $152 million if he takes it as a lump-sum.
Ironically enough, Quezada opened his own bodega a few years ago that is only a short distance away from the liquor store. However, since he never applied for a license, the lucky winner’s store doesn’t sell lotto tickets. That’s how he ended up purchasing the winning ticket at Eagle Liquors, according to The New York Post.
“For the last three years, he would come here every day between 7:30 and 8 p.m. to buy Lotto tickets and two or three bottles of [Corona] beer,’’ said Felix Ramirez, an employee at Eagle Liquors.
Lottery officials said they knew the store had sold the winning ticket but didn’t know who bought it. Quezada didn’t know he had won either until he came into the store after 4 p.m. yesterday.
“He didn’t know he won when he came in because he stopped to check the board,” Ramirez said. “He was shocked and emotional. He said, ‘It’s me!’ ”
Quezada has been struggling with debt for years. He hasn’t decided how to spend the cash, but indicated he would help his family, as well as the community. “I was praying so much for this,” said Quezada. “I’m just giving thanks to God.”