Winning Powerball Family in Seclusion

Oct. 22, 2005 — -- The family who won the largest jackpot in the Powerball history and the second-biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history is cautious about discussing their instant wealth. Steven West of Jacksonville, Ore., agreed to talk to "Good Morning America" only if his face would not be shown.

"We didn't expect to win anything and I thought, 'OK, we're just throwing away $40,'" West said. "We said 'this can't be right, something's not right' and that's all we said all night," he added.

West had never played Powerball before and said he never expected to win. He plunked down $20, and so did his in-laws, who live in a Jacksonville trailer park on a street ironically called "Gold Rush."

The families will share the jackpot, but they're not sharing where they bought the ticket. Lottery officials said the ticket was sold at either Ray's Food Place or J'ville Tavern in Jacksonville, a small, historic town near Medford in the southwest part of the state. The store that sold the winning ticket will receive a $100,000 bonus for the sale.

The winning ticket still needs to be verified by the state's lottery commission. Right now, that special ticket is sitting in a safety deposit box at the bank as the family decides how they will spend their new fortune.

"I wanted to remain the same person and pretty much keep the same lifestyle that I had, but I've been told by everybody that it's going to change immensely," West said. "I'm not sure I like that. My wife and I keep saying maybe we shouldn't have bought that."

He said he plans to continue working as a landscaper. His only planned splurge is a sports car. His wife wants to buy a new house.

Now that the word is out, locals say they're happy for the Wests.

"He can own this whole block if he wants it," said Larry Coleman, a neighbor.

"It wasn't my ticket, so as long as it was someone local, that's great," said Brian Peterson, a Jacksonville resident.

"I'm glad that it wasn't just another millionaire making more money," said Darrell Luttrell, who also lives in Jacksonville. "I'm glad it was a working class family that got the money."