New Jersey garage workers among Powerball winners

August 12, 2013 10:44:20 AM PDT
The first of the sixteen Ocean County garage workers who bought a winning Powerball ticket has come forward.

Susan Nichel says she couldn't believe it when she and her 15 co-workers at Ocean County's vehicle services shop hit all five numbers and the Powerball.

"My co-worker Elaine came out and shook me and said, 'We did win!", said Nichel. "I'm still up in the clouds. I can't even tell you. I'm just so excited."

Nichel and her co-workers still have not officially claimed their prize, but she says she's feeling blessed.

"I'm very thankful. Thank you God," she said.

Nichel has a few ideas for how to spend her winnings.

Among them, fixing her house that was damaged by Superstorm Sandy and sharing the loot with her large family.

She plans to stay at work for another year and a half before retiring to collect her pension.

"I want my husband to retire. I'm not, but I want him to. He's worked a long time," said Nichel.

Even after striking it rich, Nichel and her co-workers returned to the job the next day.

"They knew they had won the lottery and they were here. That tells you a lot about who they are," Jim Pine, director of vehicle service, said.

The 16 had pooled their money in Wednesday's $448 million dollar Powerball jackpot, their ticket one of the three big winners.

"Hard working people. Spread the wealth. Relax in life. That's the way to do it," visitor Terrence McCue said.

They are a mix of men and women in their 30's and some older, their supervisor says. And now, he adds, like a close knit family. "I don't want to say who's here and who isn't. That's the type of people they are. They're working class people," Pine said.

As trucks rolled out from the county's maintenance garage, so did word that there were 16 new millionaires.

"I think it's pretty cool that they all chipped in, if that's what they did - make a pool out it. They separate it and get a nice bit of money out of it," Stephen D'Amato said.

"They are all on cloud 9, I can tell you that," Pine said.

A Minnesota man has already claimed his third of Wednesday's jackpot. The holder of the third winning ticket, also from New Jersey, has not come forward yet.

Each ticket, if taken as a lump-sum payment, is worth $58 million after taxes.

New Jersey Lottery officials are expected to hold a news conference next week.


Multi-State Lottery Association: