ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. — Some lucky person walked into a Publix supermarket in suburban Florida over the past few days and bought a ticket now worth an estimated $590.5 million — the highest Powerball jackpot in history.
But it wasn’t Matthew Bogel. On Sunday, he loaded groceries into his car after shopping at the Publix. He shook his head when asked about the jackpot.
“It’s crazy, isn’t it?” he said. “That’s so much money.”
It’s an amount too high for many to imagine. Compare it to the budget for the city of Zephyrhills: This year’s figure is just more than $49 million. The winning Powerball jackpot is 12 times that.
Whoever has the ticket hadn’t come forward as of Sunday afternoon.
“This would be the sixth Florida Powerball winner, and right now, it’s the sole winner of the largest ever Powerball jackpot,” Florida Lottery executive Cindy O’Connell told The Associated Press. “We’re delighted right now that we have the sole winner.”
Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said that there are a lot of rumors about who won, but the store doesn’t know. “We’re excited for the winner or winners,” she said.
Florida Lottery spokesman David Bishop said Sunday afternoon that it was doubtful the winner would come forward that day. The ticket-holder can’t claim the prize until today, when the agency opens, he said.
“It never happens this quickly,” Bishop said. “If they know they won, they’re going to contact their attorney or an accountant first so they can get their affairs in order.”
O’Connell said Florida has had more Powerball winners than any other state but did not give any indication whether anyone had stepped forward with the winning ticket in Saturday’s drawing.
But plenty of people in Zephyrhills — population 13,337 — are wondering whether it’s someone they know.
Joan Albertson drove to the Publix early Sunday morning with her camera in hand, in case the winner emerged. She said she had bought a ticket at a store across the street, and the idea of winning that much money was still something of a shock.
“Oh, there’s so much good that you could do with that amount of money.” Albertson said. “I don’t even know where to begin.”
Zephyrhills is a small city in Pasco County, about 30 miles northeast of downtown Tampa. Once a rural farming town, it’s now known as a hotbed for skydiving activity, and the home to large retiree mobile home parks and Zephyrhills bottled water.
And now, one lucky lottery ticket.
“I’m getting text messages and messages from Facebook going, ‘Uh, did you win the lottery?”‘ Sandra Lewis said. “No, I didn’t win, guys. Sorry.”
The winning numbers were 10, 13, 14, 22 and 52, with a Powerball of 11.