An Iowa grandmother has stepped forward to claim her half of a massive Powerball lottery win of $688 million.
Lerynne West, of the small town Redfield, will share the prize with someone who bought the other winning ticket in New York City. The 51-year-old immediately retired her insurance job last week and plans to buy a new car as her first lottery purchase, she said at a Monday press conference.
She also announced she had established the Callum Foundation, in the name of her late grandson, who lived for one day after being born at 24 weeks. She and her family will fund causes they deem worthy, she said.
The winning numbers were drawn on Oct. 27. West opted for the cash payout, meaning she will take home nearly $200 million, before taxes.
West said she didn't even check her ticket until a friend asked about it. Then she had to find the ticket, which she had left behind in her sister's truck after they stopped for pizza and coffee weeks before.
Her sister rummaged around in the vehicle until she found the scrap of paper, then sent her sister a photo of it from her cellphone.
West said she punched the numbers into the state lottery app, but got nothing.
"When you get numbers right, they show up in red," West said. "Well, nothing showed up in red because I had the wrong date in there."
Once she corrected the date, "It was red, red, red, red, red, jackpot, and I thought, 'I've done something wrong again,''' she said.
Then she called her sister. "Get that ticket, get in your truck and get up here now," she told her. "And drive slow."
She is overjoyed with her winnings, she said. But she also takes them quite seriously.
"Once you have won and you realize the responsibility and ... just the impact that you can make, all frivolity goes out the window," she said. She plans to use some of the money to help her family, including her mother, seven brothers and sisters, three daughters and six grandchildren.
West bested odds of 292.2 million to one.
She can't wait to get rid of her piece of junk car. "Currently I drive a Ford Fiesta that people have just beat up when I'm not in it," she said. The little roadster has 142 miles on the odometer.
"I'm going to get a car big enough that I can take all my grandchildren places now," she said.