REGIONAL: Pineville man asked family to pick numbers, wins $1 million Mega Millions prize

RALEIGH – David Morris of Pineville asked his children to choose his lottery numbers, a decision that won him a $1 million Mega Millions prize in Tuesday’s drawing.

His lucky win came as he played for the fourth largest Mega Millions jackpot ever. Friday’s estimated jackpot of $1.35 billion ranks as the second largest in the game’s history.

Morris said he doesn’t typically play Mega Millions but decided to go for it when he saw the big jackpot. He got the winning numbers from one of his sons. Morris said he will try for the $1.35 billion jackpot too.

He discovered his good luck after he heard the $1 million ticket was bought in Pineville and that no one had claimed the prize.

“I started hyperventilating,” he laughed. “I called my wife at work and told her to come home right away.”

Morris matched numbers on all five white balls to win $1 million. He bought the lucky ticket from the 7-Eleven on South Polk Street in Pineville. He claimed his prize Friday at lottery headquarters and, after required federal and state tax withholdings, took home $712,501.

“We want to buy some land up in the Smoky Mountains where my wife is from,” Morris said.

On Friday, the Mega Millions jackpot was raised by $100 million to reach $1.35 billion, or $659.5 million in cash. It ranks as the fourth largest in U.S. history. The odds of winning a Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302 million.

“It’s great to see a $1 million Mega Millions winner like David here in North Carolina,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “Of course, we would love to see a new billionaire in the state tonight. Check your tickets carefully and good luck to everyone going for the jackpot tonight.”

Ticket sales from draw games like Mega Millions make it possible for the lottery to raise $2.5 million a day on average for education. For details on how $61.8 million raised by the lottery made a difference in Mecklenburg County last year, visit www.nclottery.com and click on the “Impact” section.