Mega Millions Winner: Jim McCullar of Washington

McCullar and wife, Carolyn, take $190 million check.

January 06, 2011, 12:37 AM

Jan. 6, 2011— -- Jim McCullar kissed his wife, Carolyn, as he claimed his $190 million share of the Mega Millions lottery, part of the second-largest jackpot in the history of the U.S. lottery.

"I think $190 million is pretty good for this little, old Mississippi boy," Jim McCullar said. "People have been good to me all my life. It's called pay it forward."

MCuller, 68, and his wife live in Ephrata, Wash., a town of fewer than 7,000 people, where he works as a real estate agent.

McCullar is one of two people who picked the correct numbers to earn a share of a $380 million Mega Millions bonanza. The other winner, from Idaho, has not contacted lottery officials.

It was Carolyn McCullar's idea to buy two lottery tickets last Sunday while they were grocery shopping in Safeway.

"We were in the store and I said, 'We must get some tickets and use a card and put our numbers down,'" said Carolyn McCullar, 64.

The couple's winning numbers were based upon their birthdays.

The numbers drawn in the jackpot were: 4, 8, 15, 25, 47, and the Mega Ball number was 42.

The couple's second ticket won them $150.

They've been lucky before. Several years ago, they won at least $10,000 playing the Oregon lottery.

This time around, Jim McCullar discovered the couple had won hundreds of millions of dollars while watching the winning numbers be announced on television.

"I thought, 'Oh my good Lord in heaven,'" he said.

Pale and shaking, he ran to his wife who was lying in bed with their three dogs.

Carolyn McCullar thought her husband, who has 12 stents in his heart, was having a heart attack.

"She said, 'Are you ok?'" Jim McCullar said. "I said, 'Yeah, I'm perfect. ... Where are the lottery tickets?'"

Carolyn McCullar grabbed the tickets while her husband pulled up the winning numbers on the computer.

"She looked and she studied, she looked and she studied, and she looked at me and screamed," Jim McCullar said. "Tears started flowing. All she could say, 'Is this real?' I said, 'I pinched myself and I'm awake and this is real.'"

He immediately signed his winning tickets and put them in his wallet. They told their children, close friends and co-workers.

The couple has not decided whether they will take a $90 million lump sum payment after federal taxes or 26 annual installments.

There are no state taxes in Washington.

The couple said that they have no plans to "blow" the money.

"What this means to me is not a jet and traveling all over the world," Jim McCullar said. "What this means to me is that the legacy is going to go generation after generation after generation. My kids, my grandkids, my great grandkids and their kids will never have to worry."

The couple has four kids together. Jim McCullar has two more kids from a previous marriage.

The two, who love to golf, moved to Washington state in 2003. Jim McCullar previously worked for Boeing for 20 years as a maintenance instructor.

Washington Lottery communications director Scott Kinney said that the McCullars hand-picked the magic numbers at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Safeway store that sold the winning ticket will receive $50,000.

Washington state will use the money it makes from the lottery towards higher education, Kinney said.

Idaho Winner Still a Mystery

In neighboring Idaho, state lottery officials said the winning ticket was sold in Post Falls, Idaho.

"Idaho is a very lucky place," state lottery director Jeff Anderson said. "We are encouraging everyone who has played Mega Millions to check their tickets carefully for winners."

The odds of having the winning numbers in Tuesday night's drawing were one in 176 million.

When the Idaho winner comes forward, they can elect to take a lump sum option of about $81 million after state and federal taxes, lottery officials said.

Though the top winner has not come forward, Idaho is home to another big winner. Kevin Anderson of Melba, Idaho, had five of the six numbers on his ticket, so he'll get $250,000 before taxes. He had been out of work for two years but recently got a new job.

He said he considered the win an early birthday present. He'll be 50 Jan. 25.

"We danced for the next 20 minutes," Anderson said when he claimed his prize. "I needed another number to quit my job."

After taxes, he walked out of Idaho Lottery headquarters with a check for $168,000, money he said he and his wife mostly would save and maybe use to buy a new car.

The family struggled with finances and "couldn't afford Christmas, so this is just perfect," he said.

Lottery director Jeff Anderson said, "We are also recommending all our players sign the back of their tickets prior to presenting it for payment. These tickets are bearer instruments, and we want to ensure our winners protect their play."

Mega Millions is played in 41 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The jackpot grew to $355 million because Friday night's drawing failed to produce a winner for the multi-state lottery's top prize, which was estimated to be $290 million.

On Wednesday, lottery officials increased the jackpot estimate to $380 million after a boost in last-minute ticket sales.

The jackpot grew to such "mega" dimensions after 15 consecutive drawings that started Nov. 12.

Mega Millions jackpots begin with $12 million and roll over to the next drawing until there is a winner.

The Mega Millions lucky numbers were eerily similar to the ones that haunted fans of the ABC television series "Lost" for six seasons.

The numbers the character of Hugo "Hurley" Reyes used to win $156 million were: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42, four out of the six numbers picked on Tuesday.

On the show, Hurley, played by actor Jorge Garcia, thought the numbers were cursed after suffering a string of bad luck after winning the lottery on the show.

Though Hurley may have been unlucky on "Lost," someone playing his numbers in Tuesday night's drawing would have won $150.

"Lost" co-creator and executive producer Damon Lindelof said the coincidence might be good karma for the show's dedicated fans.

"Considering the show pretty much drove its fans crazy for six years, it seems only karmically just that it has finally decided to give back," Lindelof told ABC News.

Fellow executive producer Carlton Cuse said via Twitter not to blame the show's creators if the lottery connection, like many of "Lost's" plot twists and turns, remained unsolved.

"I'm sure there is a larger, mystical reason this happened, but in this case if it never gets explained, don't blame me or Damon," he wrote.

ABC News' Steve Osunsami, Michael S. James, Kevin Dolak, John Griffin, Jennifer Metz and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events