PASSAIC, N.J. — The winner of a $338 million Powerball jackpot told several media outlets Monday that his first priority will be helping his family.
Pedro Quezada, 44, entered Eagle Liquors store, where the ticket was sold, late Monday afternoon. The Passaic store owner ran Quezada’s ticket through the lottery machine to validate that it was a winner as a newspaper and television outlets recorded the moment.
The New Jersey Lottery confirmed that the winning ticket was validated at the store at 4:30 p.m. Monday, but officials said they didn’t yet know the winner’s name.
Quezada told reporters in Spanish that he was “very happy” and that he intends to help his family.
His wife, Ines Sanchez, told the Bergen Record that Quezada called her with the news Monday afternoon.
“I still can’t believe it,” she said. “We never expected it but thank God.”
The numbers drawn Saturday were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31. A lump sum payout would be $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes. It’s the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history.
The family’s apartment sits at the end of a short dead end block that abuts a highway in Passaic, 15 miles northwest of New York City. Neighbors stood out in the rain Monday night and spoke with pride that one of their own had struck it rich.
Eladia Vazquez has lived across the street from Quezada’s building for the past 25 years. The block has a half-dozen three-story brick apartment buildings on each side, and Vazquez says it’s a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone, including what car they drive and what parking space they use.
Vazquez described Quezada and his wife as “quiet and not overly talkative” but sensed that they seemed to be working all the time.
“This is super for all of us on this block,” she said. “They deserve it because they are hardworking people.”
Richard Delgado, who lives down the block from Quezada’s building, said the man was “a hard worker, like all of us here. We all get up in the morning and go to work.”