$338M Jackpot Winner: How Is Pedro Quezada Going To Spend His Powerball Money?

By Jason Van Hoven on March 26, 2013 11:19 AM EDT

Powerball
The $338M jackpot is the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history (Photo: Powerball)

The $338M jackpot winner, 44-year-old Pedro Quezada of Passaic, N.J., said to reporters on Monday that he will set priorities in spending his Powerball money, according to the Associated Press.

"No. 1 is your health, because if you don't have that, the rest doesn't matter," the winner of the Powerball said. "No. 2 is your family. You take care of your own and live the rest of your life in peace. That's all anyone can do."

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Quezada entered Eagle Liquors store, where the winning Powerball ticket was sold, late Monday afternoon. The store's owner, Sunil Sethi, ran Quezada's winning Powerball ticket through the lottery machine to validate the ticket as newspaper and television outlets recorded the moment.

Delgado said that he got up Sunday morning and was going to take his dog for a walk when he heard the radio announce the Powerball results.

"When I heard there was one winner and it was in New Jersey, I immediately went and checked my tickets," Delgado said. "I wanted to be that guy."

The New Jersey Lottery confirmed that the winning Powerball ticket was validated at the store at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

Quezada, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, said to reporters in Spanish that he was "very happy" to be a Powerball winner.

His wife, Ines Sanchez, told The Record in Bergen County that her husband called her with the news Monday afternoon.

"I'm a millionaire, Ines. Did you hear?"

"I still can't believe it," she said. "We never expected it but thank God."

The winning Powerball numbers that were drawn on Saturday were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31. The lump sum payout would be $221 million or about $152 million after taxes.

The $338M jackpot is the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history, the largest Powerball jackpot coming in at $587.5 million in November. The winning numbers for that were picked on two different tickets -- one by a couple in Missouri and the other by an Arizona man - and the jackpot was split. Nebraska still holds the record for the largest Powerball jackpot won on a single ticket -- $365 million -- by eight workers at a Lincoln meatpacking plant in February 2006.

Eagle Liquors store, the store in Passaic that sold the ticket, will get a $10,000 prize. Sethi said that he would use some of the money to fix up the store and share some with his employees, according to USA Today.

Eladia Vazquez, who has lived across the street from Quezada's building for the past 25 years on a short dead end block that abuts a highway in Passaic 15 miles northwest of New York City, described Quezada and his wife as "quiet and not overly talkative" but sensed that they worked a lot. Indeed, she was right as Ines would walk her children to school every day while Pedro worked days and nights as The Record notes.

"This is super for all of us on this block," Vazquez said. "They deserve it because they are hardworking people."

Quezada, who has five children and has owned the Apple Deli and Grocery on Eighth Street in Passaic since 2006, had ironically experienced some bad luck recently. Thieves broke into his and Ines' small apartment about two years ago, stealing everything from clothes to jewelry, and, about a year prior to that, a fire destroyed much of the bodega.

Now, though, Quezada and his wife may never experience that again.

"They had nothing for a while," said Quezada's longtime friend Alberto Liranzo. "Now they got enough money to buy a million bodegas."

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