A Statesville woman who got a speeding ticket on her last birthday is celebrating this year’s early after a $1 million lottery win, NC Education Lottery officials said Tuesday.
“I’m still processing it, I can’t believe it,” Christy Steele, an IT project manager, said after claiming her prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Friday, according to a lottery news release on Tuesday.
“Last year, I was bummed because I got a speeding ticket the week before my birthday,” Steele told lottery officials. “This year, I got a winning ticket!”
Steele won the first $1 million prize in the new $25,000,000 Casino Cash game. She beat odds of 1 in 1.2 million, according to the lottery’s website.
Steele was “taking care of some family business” when she decided to buy the $10 ticket at Barker’s Log Cabin Grocery in Harmony. The community is in rural northern Iredell County.
“I was just feeling lucky that day for some reason,” Steele told officials. “I figured I’d give it a try.”
She scratched one of the four games on the ticket, and it showed she’d won the game’s top prize.
“My kids didn’t believe me,” Steele said. “They were like, ‘Mama, OK, whatever. Stop playing.’ Finally my daughter said, ‘I don’t think she’s playing this time!’”
Steele could choose between an annuity of $50,000 a year over 20 years, and a $600,000 lump sum. She took the lump sum, which, after taxes, came to $424,503, officials said.
She will invest the money and use it to pay for her daughter’s college tuition.
“We helped our son graduate college debt-free,” Steele told lottery officials. “I plan to do the same for our daughter.”
The scratch-off game launched this month with three top prizes of $1 million. Two remain to be claimed.