MADISON -- The winner of a Powerball lottery ticket worth $768.4 million was revealed Tuesday, April 23 -- 24-year-old Manuel Franco of West Allis.
"I simply can't believe an ordinary guy like me could ever win the Powerball," Franco told reporters on Tuesday afternoon in Madison.
Franco described in detail the day he purchased the tickets that led to this big win when the numbers were drawn on March 27. Franco said he left work around 2 p.m. on March 27 and went to the Speedway in New Berlin a few minutes later. He bought $10 worth of individual Powerball tickets.
"I walk into the Speedway in New Berlin and purchase $10 worth of individual Powerball tickets," Franco said. "I pretty much felt lucky."
Franco felt so lucky, he looked into the camera at the counter -- and pondered winking at it. In the end, he did not.
Franco said he did not watch the Powerball drawing that evening -- and actually left for work the next morning without checking the tickets. During the day, he heard all the buzz about someone from Wisconsin hitting the jackpot -- and grew curious.
When Franco got home, he first checked the tickets that he and his girlfriend had purchased together -- there were no winners. Then he grabbed the 10 tickets he purchased after work the day before. The third ticket he checked was a winner of $4 -- for hitting the Powerball number. Franco said he got excited about that. It was the last ticket in his hand that ended up being the big winner.
"I don't want to embarrass myself on live TV but, what I can explain -- it was amazing. My heart started racing, blood pumping. My blood felt warm. Screamed for about five or 10 minutes. Good thing my neighbors didn't hear," Franco said.
Franco said his dad cried when he broke the news to him.
"My mom, she thought I was in trouble. And she's like, 'You need to tell me the truth. Is that what happened?' I said, 'Yes, Mom, that is true,'" Franco said.
Franco was the sole winner of the $768.4 million Powerball jackpot, but he elected to take the $477 million lump sum payment from Wisconsin Lottery. After taxes, Franco will receive a little more than $326 million.
For the record, Franco told reporters he does not plan to play Powerball again.
The winning Powerball ticket was sold at 2:14 p.m. on March 27 at a Speedway gas station in New Berlin.
The win came almost exactly two years after Wisconsin’s last Powerball jackpot, when a Milwaukee resident won $156.2 million on March 22, 2017. The winning numbers March 27 were 16, 20, 37, 44 and 62. The Powerball number was 12.
Seven tickets matched all five white balls, but missed matching the red Powerball in Wednesday’s drawing to win a $1 million prize. Those tickets were sold in Arizona, two in California, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey and New York. Two other tickets, sold in Kansas and Minnesota, matched all five white balls and doubled the prize to $2 million, because the tickets included the Power Play option for an additional $1.
Powerball is played in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., the U.S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.