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Mega Millions winning tickets in California, Georgia split $636 million

Some people's lives changed drastically Tuesday night.

There was no immediate word about who won, but one winning ticket was bought at Jennifer's Gift Shop on Tully Road in San Jose, Calif., according to Alex Traverso, a California lottery official. A second winning ticket was bought at Gateway Newstands on Lenox Road in Atlanta, a lottery official in Georgia said.

A second-tier, $1 million ticket was sold at High’s Dairy Store on Old Bottom Road in Annapolis, Maryland Lottery officials said.

The winning numbers were 8, 14, 17, 20 and 39. The Megaball was 7.

At the Annapolis High's convenience store and gas station overlooking Route 50, a store manager declined to comment, though a sign in the front window boasted of the winning ticket. The manager directed questions to the High's corporate office in Baltimore, which did not immediately respond to a request from The Baltimore Sun.

By mid-afternoon, the new Maryland millionaire had not yet come forward, said Maryland Lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett. Lottery winners have 182 days to claim their prize.

“It could be any day now, or a few months,” she said.

High’s will get a $1,000 award for selling a winning ticket.

The massive Mega Millions jackpot — just shy of the national record of $656 million drawn in March 2012 — drew a frenzy of ticket-buying as casual, daily and irregular lottery players threw their money into the pool. At one point Tuesday, Marylanders were handing over cash for the $1 Mega Millions tickets at a rate of almost 101 tickets a second, or 6,041 per minute, said Maryland lottery spokeswoman Erica Palmisano.

Nationwide, there were 20 tickets that won $1 million, including the ticket in Annapolis.

In Maryland, there were 685,000 people who won a prize of some kind, from as little as $1 up to the $1 million winner, Everett said. More than 10 million Mega Millions tickets were sold in Maryland.

“I don’t think anyone wanted to be left out,” Everett said.

"Got your Mega Millions yet?" Jigar Patel, a clerk at the Morrell Park Deli in Southwest Baltimore, called out to a regular customer around noon Tuesday.

Robert Prince, 70, says he plays the lottery daily, always with the same seven number combinations that represent the birthdays of himself, his wife, his son, his grandson, his father-in-law and his father, as well as his wedding anniversary.

You have a better chance of dying in a car accident on your way to buy a lottery ticket than of winning a big jackpot, Patel told Prince.

"Don't matter," Prince shrugged.

What would he did if he won?

"Try my best to spend every damn penny of it," Prince said. "I don't even know what I'd do, but I'd have some fun. My wife and kids wouldn't have to work for nothing."

The largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, $656 million in the Mega Millions, was split among winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois last year. Tuesday's $636 million jackpot ranks as the second-largest, lottery officials said.

Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot has a $341.2 million cash option, Palmisano said. If a Marylander is the sole winner, that person would net $226 million in cash or a $16.2 million annuity for 29 years, after taxes.

"Everyone starts to play when it hits a certain amount," Palmisano said.

Around noon Tuesday, a steady stream of would-be millionaires bought tickets at Morrell Park Deli, and Patel said the store was selling hundreds more Mega Millions tickets than usual.

Many tempered their enthusiasm.

"I don't count on it," said Anna Church, 58, who said she would buy a house and care for her special-needs son and other family members if she won. "Usually I feel like city folks don't have much of a chance. It'll probably be someone in the county."

Another customer asked her what she meant.

"It takes money to get money," Church said.

Dean Moore said that he and his daughter's mother had bought at least 40 Mega Millions tickets since Friday.

Asked what he would spend his winnings on, Moore, 26, paused and grinned.

"So much. Homeless shelters. Build a new school. Invest a lot in Johns Hopkins University," he said. "The rest, just spend the [stuff] out of it."

His daughter would get a brand-new car, Moore said, though she's only 9. He said he would probably try to buy the Baltimore Ravens.

"I know the odds, the outcomes," Moore said. "I don't expect to win. But it's definitely fun."

Baltimore Sun reporters Scott Dance and Pamela Wood, and Tribune news services contributed to this article.

cwells@baltsun.com

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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