Hoosiers Larry Chandler, Pat Wilkerson step forward to claim $1M Powerball prizes

Chandler, Wilkerson won $1M of $579 jackpot

INDIANAPOLIS - Two Hoosiers are $1 million richer Thursday after claiming their share of the record-breaking Powerball jackpot of $579 million.

Larry Chandler, a 34-year-old union electrician from Highland, was one of two Indiana ticket holders who matched all five numbers in Wednesday night's drawing.

Chandler said he went to sleep without checking his ticket, and it wasn't until he stopped at a gas station this morning that he realized he was a big winner.

"I went to the gas station this morning. I was going to work," Chandler said. "And the numbers were written real big on the top of the newspaper. And I said some of the numbers looked familiar, you know. So I pulled out my ticket." 

Chandler never did get to work, although he insists he won't quit his job and will be back at work Monday morning after consulting with a financial adviser. He instead went home to make sure of his good fortune.

As one could only imagine, Chandler was head-over-heels after matching the numbers.

"It's amazing. I'm just ecstatic. You know, I've never won anything in my life. This is pretty big," he said.

Chandler said he and his girlfriend Donna are going on a nice vacation. He hopes to set up a college fund for his daughter. But his biggest wish seems to be helping out his mother.

"I'm going to give my mom some," he said. "My mom, she's been doing the same thing for 30-some years. She doesn't make very good money. So I'd like to, you know, help her out a little bit."

Highland is in northern Indiana near Gary. 

The other $1 million dollar ticket purchased in Indiana was bought by Pat Wilkerson, of Bruceville. The retiree bought her ticket to riches in Vincennes and has decided to split the money three ways with her two grown children.

Wilkerson said the decision to share the money was a no-brainer.

"I always knew if I won anything big I would split it with my two children," Wilkerson said. "That's just a given." 

Wilkerson's lucky numbers were hand chosen by her and represent the birthdays of her daughter and five grandchildren. 

Wilkerson is retired from the National Park Service. Her two children, Michelle Cummins and Sean Wilkerson, both work for Vincennes University.

Cummins, a math professor, plans to use the money to pay for college for her two daughters. 

"We've had a blessed life," Cummins said. "It's not going to go to our heads. We are thankful for what we have and want to continue on that way."

Sean Wilkerson, who works in IT at the university, said he has no idea yet what he'll do with his share of the winnings, but with three children under the age of 10, he's sure he'll find a good way to use it.

The winning numbers were: 5, 16, 22, 23, 29 and Powerball of 6.

Powerball officials said early Thursday morning that tickets sold in Arizona and Missouri matched all six numbers to win the record $579.9 million jackpot.

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