LEXINGTON, S.C. (AP) — When they learned that a Powerball ticket worth $400 million had been sold at a gas station across the road, workers at Econ-O-Bug Termite and Pest Control said they had a few big, wishful dreams. But they didn't have the prized ticket in their hands, so they came to work as usual Thursday in their yellow bug-battling vans.
"I sure didn't win it," said Jason Vannest, 32, of Lexington. He looked wistfully out the window at the buzz of activity at the Murphy USA gas station. "I'd be on vacation if I had, that's for sure."
Colleague Eddie Terrell chimed in that he had his destination all picked out, even though he wasn't the winner in Wednesday night's drawing of the fourth-largest prize in Powerball history.
"I'd be on a flight to Ireland right now," said Terrell, 50. He said he purchased his Powerball ticket at another store, but he was still curious. "I just want to know who won it," he said.
But the winner didn't attend Thursday's news conference at the gas station, and his or her identity remained a mystery even to lottery officials.
"We have no idea who holds this ticket," Lottery Executive Director Paula Harper Bethea said. She said winners in South Carolina do not have to come forward publicly.
Bethea advised the winner to sign the back of the ticket, put it in a safe place, and consult financial and legal advice. He or she has 180 days to come forward to lottery officials, Bethea added.
The lucky ticket was one of 356 sold Wednesday afternoon at the gas station, nestled just off 1-20 west of Columbia. On Thursday, dozens of reporters and rows of television satellite trucks gathered at the station, along a road lined with fast-food restaurants, meat processing stores and a red barn where produce and homemade jellies are sold.
Nearby billboards played on the lottery news: "Feeling lucky? Shop at Murphys. Feeling hungry? Come on in!" ''Hey Powerball winner, have you tried our pepper-coated bacon?"