If Harford County custodian Almerta Williams had a better pair of glasses, she might not have won $2 million from the Powerball lottery this week.

Williams thought she had chosen numbers that matched the birthdays of relatives, but thanks to an old pair of reading glasses, she picked one number incorrectly, lottery officials said Wednesday. The error proved fortuitous — the numbers she picked made her a second-place winner in this week's drawing, which featured a $587.5 million jackpot.


Two tickets — purchased in Missouri and Arizona — beat the 1-in-175 million odds and chose all six numbers correctly. Williams picked five numbers correctly and paid for an additional Power Play, which doubled her prize to $2 million.

Williams, who arrived at state lottery headquarters with her three children and other relatives, "just walked through our doors smiling," said Carole Everett, a lottery spokeswoman. "They were all almost dancing."

Williams purchased her ticket at Herb's Deli and Spirits in Edgewood. She plans to keep working as a custodian but use her winnings to buy a new house and 80-inch TV and set aside money for her relatives.

Marylanders bought $2 Powerball tickets at an average of 569,000 per hour Wednesday as the jackpot climbed past $550 million. Everett said she is somewhat relieved that the buying frenzy is over.

"But it would have been cool if the thing had rolled over again and we had a jackpot that was close to $1 billion," she said.

Total one-day Powerball sales in Maryland on Wednesday reached $9.45 million, not quite a record.

Everett said disappointed buyers should not toss their tickets before checking them again carefully. The ticket may not hold all the winning numbers (which are 05 16 22 23 29 with a Powerball of 06), but a combination of several of the numbers could add up to something.

"There were more than 225,000 winning tickets sold in Maryland, some with $10,000 or $100 prizes," she said. "Those can be nice consolation prizes."