LILLINGTON, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Christopher Hawley of Lillington will get $250,000 for the next two decades after he won $5 million.
Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App
"I've never dreamed I'd win this," he said. "Wow, just wow. I'm still in shock."
Hawley, a machinist at Cree in Durham, was on his lunch break when he decided to buy two $5 million Mega Cash tickets from the Quality Mart on South Miami Boulevard in Durham. After driving back to work, Hawley scratched the tickets in his car.
"At first, I thought I won $20," said Hawley. "But then I kept scratching and saw the dollar sign and the five. I was like, 'Oh my goodness.' It's pretty much like Willy Wonka's golden ticket."
He called his wife, Tracey, to share their stroke of luck.
"I was like, 'What? Are you serious?'" Tracey said. "My co-worker asked if somebody had just won the lottery, and I was like, 'You have no idea.' "
Hawley claimed the prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. He had the choice of taking a $5 million annuity of 20 payments of $250,000, or a lump sum worth $3 million. Hawley chose the annuity and received his first payment.
After federal and state tax withholdings, he took home $173,758. He will continue to receive payments for 19 more years.
He said he doesn't know what he'll do with all the money yet, but he knows he wants to pay all his bills and buy his wife a nicer wedding ring.
Hawley is the first player to win the $20 game's top prize since it began in May. Two top prizes remain.
Information from the North Carolina Education Lottery was used in this report.
Harnett County man buys scratch ticket in Durham, wins $5 million