published Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Marion County woman wins $1 million

  • photo
    Lottery winner Laura Pittman stands with, from leftLottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove and her sister Doris.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A Marion County woman came out of Halloween with more than a bucket of sweets.

Laura Pittman won $1 million after she purchased an instant-win Tennessee Lottery ticket at Raceway Convenience and Video off Highway 28 in Whitwell, Tenn., on Halloween night.

"I thought I was seeing things," Pittman said, according to a news release from the Tennessee Lottery. She said she just sat in her car for several minutes, staring at the ticket.

Connie Gholdston, a cashier at the Raceway, sold the winning ticket to Pittman and remembers when she came back into the store to verify the ticket numbers.

"She was kind of a little hysterical," Gholdston said Friday.

Gholdston checked off the numbers and told Pittman what she had: A genuine $1 million winner.

"It was like, 'Wow. She really won $1 million,'" Gholdston said. "It was awesome."

Raceway employees tried to keep the win "low key" in the store Thursday night. As exciting as the win was, Pittman's safety was still a concern.

They had Pittman sign her ticket, and they escorted her to the car.

"It was nerve-wracking, even though it wasn't your money," Gholdston said.

She said Pittman's Millionaire Jumbo Bucks ticket was the 11th to be sold off of its roll. She thinks when everyone hears about Pittman's story, the Raceway is going to see a jump in lottery ticket buyers.

"I figure once people realize we sold a $1 million ticket, we'll get hit," she said.

Pittman picked up her winnings Friday at the Tennessee Lottery's headquarters in Nashville.

The news release said the lottery has raised more than $2.8 billion since 2004 for education in Tennessee.

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