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‘I’m retired’ Oxford mechanic says after $10M scratch-off win

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RALEIGH — An Oxford’s man decision to stop and buy a lottery ticket during a trip to the landfill on April 1 won the 52-year-old grandfather $10 million -- although he could hardly believe it.

“I looked at myself. I said ‘I won, I won, I won,” Theodore Duncan said April 4 during an event at the N.C. Education Lottery headquarters in Raleigh. He said he panicked and couldn’t even bring himself to smile.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Duncan said. “I called my brother and said ‘I think I need to go to Raleigh.’ He said ‘No, I know you need to go to Raleigh.’”

Duncan, who has 13 grandchildren, said he usually buys three or four scratch-off tickets a week. He bought the ticket at the Berea Mini Mart on U.S. 158 W. in Oxford.

His jackpot win was one of four $10 million prizes that can be won on a Colossal Cash scratch-off ticket. The game began last August and involves matching numbers with any of 10 winning numbers to earn a corresponding prize. The odds of winning the jackpot is one in 3.9 million.

Duncan said he at first didn’t scratch off the part of the ticket that showed how much he won. When he realized that he had won some money, his first thought was he would at least get back the $30 he spent on the ticket.

After he realized how much he won, he said he needed to have his brother pick him up because he couldn’t drive. He elected to take a $6 million lump sum payment instead of an annuity that would have paid him the full $10 million over 20 years. After state and federal tax withholdings, he will take home $4,245,009.

That was enough that Duncan said there was no question he would quit his job.

“I just retired,” Duncan said. “I’ve been working since I was about 15 years old. I just retired.”

Duncan had been working as a mechanic for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in Oxford, he said. He said he loved the company and hoped someone else will enjoy his job.

The first thing Duncan will buy is a house, he said. He said he already picked out his future home.

“I’m not moving away,” he said. “I’m still going to live in the same little town I live in: Oxford, North Carolina.”

He plans to donate $100,000 to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

“We couldn’t be more excited for you,” Kathleen Jacob, lottery public affairs specialist, said after presenting Duncan with his check. “Every ticket that is sold helps us raise money for education.”

The N.C. Education Lottery said it raised more than $670 million in 2018.

Two $10 million Colossal Cash scratch-off tickets have yet to be claimed, as well as nine $1 million prizes and another four $1 million prizes that can be won in a second-chance drawing.