NC restaurant owner wins $10 million scratch-off prize

NC restaurant owner wins $10 million scratch-off prize
(Source: NC Education Lottery)

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - Howard Smith III of Belmont has a lot to be smiling about.

Smith, who owns a restaurant in Gaston County, won a $10 million lottery scratch-off prize while out running errands on Tuesday.

"I had two Extreme Millions tickets that I needed to cash in sitting on my dresser," Smith explained. "They had been there for about three months, so I grabbed them and took them with me."

After his first errand, Smith stopped by Will's Food Store on South New Hope Road in Gastonia and used his winnings to buy a $10 ticket and another $30 Extreme Millions ticket. When he didn't win anything on the first, Smith said he threw the Extreme Millions ticket in his truck and forgot about it until several hours later.

"I was a little shocked to say the least," Smith said. "I called my wife and asked her to come get me. I told her, 'I don't think I can drive right now.'"

"When my five-year-old found out I won, he asked if I would buy him a Ferrari," Smith said with a laugh. "I'll buy him a toy one and get him something better. I plan to set up a trust fund for each of my three children to make sure they're taken care of."?

Smith had the option of a $10 million annuity that has 20 payments of $500,000 a year or a lump sum of $6 million. He chose the lump sum and, after required state and federal tax withholdings, took home $4,230,069.

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