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Mega Millions winner from Stone Mountain

The lottery balls roll around during the lottery drawing for the Mega Millions jackpot on Tuesday in Atlanta. Two winning tickets sold in Georgia and California matched the numbers for the $648 million jackpot. (Reuters)

The lottery balls roll around during the lottery drawing for the Mega Millions jackpot on Tuesday in Atlanta. Two winning tickets sold in Georgia and California matched the numbers for the $648 million jackpot. (Reuters)

ATLANTA – It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Ira Curry. The Stone Mountain woman purchased one of two winning jackpot tickets in Tuesday’s $648 million Mega Millions drawing.

She claimed her prize Wednesday morning at Georgia Lottery headquarters.

“It’s unreal,” said Curry, 56. “It’s like I’m still dreaming.”

Curry purchased her lucky ticket at Gateway Newstand, 3500 Lenox Road, Atlanta. A second jackpot ticket was sold in California.

Curry selected the cash option, which amounts to $173,819,742.50 before taxes for each jackpot winner. Georgia state income tax of 6 percent and federal income tax of 25 percent are withheld from prizes of more than $5,000 at the time the prize is claimed.

After final game sales were calculated, the jackpot increased from an advertised $636 million to $648 million.

Curry was driving Tuesday morning when she heard the retailer location and one of the winning numbers on the radio. She asked her daughter to check her ticket and was stunned.

“I was calm because it was unbelievable,” she said.

According to Curry, she hasn’t had a chance to think about future plans.

Winning numbers from the drawing were: 8-14-17-20-39 and the Mega Ball was 7.

Curry said the numbers are a combination of family birthdays. She added that seven is the family’s lucky number.

Many other Georgia Lottery players around the state won big in Tuesday’s drawing. Two $1 million tickets were sold in Columbus and Winder. Three $20,000 tickets were sold in Cave Spring, Decatur and Marietta. There were 26 $5,000 winners, 18 $2,000 winners, and more than 929,000 winners at other prize levels.

Georgia students were also big winners. The Mega Millions roll, which began Oct. 4, yielded approximately $17.3 million for the Georgia Lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K programs, equating to approximately 6,075 HOPE awards and 1,651 Pre-K spots.