‘Itchy hand’ leads to man’s $99 million jackpot

Posted at 2:02 PM, Oct 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-31 14:13:06-04

CUMBERLAND, Va. (WTVR) – Lewis Howard said it all began with an itchy hand. Howard, a retired HVAC technician from Cumberland, recalled the night he found out the Mega Millions ticket he bought would change his life.

He said he was watching television when his hand began to itch. That, he said, was a sign money was coming. Minutes later the numbers were announced.

Howard had spent $5 on Mega Millions tickets for the May 17 drawing. One of his tickets matched all six numbers. Howard split the $198 million jackpot with another winner in New Jersey.

He said his winning numbers — 11-15-35-43-49 and the Mega Ball 41 — were selected at random at the Food Lion on South Main Street in Farmville.

Howard collected his $99 million check from the Virginia Lottery on Thursday. Choosing the one-time cash payout, Howard actually gets $73.3 million before taxes.

“I’m just an ordinary person,” he said. “I’m still the same person.”

He said he waited months to claim his prize to make sure he would make good decision with his millions.

“We commend Mr. Howard for taking his time to assemble a team of financial and legal advisors,” Virginia Lottery Director Paula Otto said.

Howard, who has two children and three grandchildren, said he’d likely take some money and go on a cruise.

He also said he’d continue playing the lottery.

“It’s my hobby,” he said.