A quick pit stop for some ice and lottery tickets while driving home from vacation made a judge and his two friends $291.4 million richer.
James Stocklas, a longtime judge in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and some friends were driving back north Wednesday after fishing in the Florida Keys while on vacation. On the way home, they bought Powerball tickets from a store in Marathon.
Back home in Pennsylvania, Stocklas, 67, was at his favorite diner when he said he saw a headline about the Powerball after pulling up the news on his phone.
The winning numbers from Wednesday’s drawing were 12-13-44-52-62 and the Powerball was 6. The judge took out a ticket from his wallet and checked the numbers. He then realized he had the winner.
"'Everybody in the restaurant right now, the breakfast is on me, I’m a millionaire,'" Stocklas recalled saying.
His next honorable decision was to charter a private jet and fly back to Florida with his two friends to share the winnings.
"I often said, 'Boy, I wonder what it would feel like to hit a big lottery winning' because I never win nothing," said Stocklas. "Well, I found out."
Opting for the lump sum payment, the three will each get about $40 million after taxes, said Stocklas.
The judge's brother also claimed Powerball winnings that day, taking home a whopping $7.