Hospital Workers Get Well : 15 on 1 Ticket, 2 Others to Split $60-Million Lotto

Times Staff Writer

A group of hospital workers from San Diego County who pooled their money, an Orange County man and at least one other lucky person picked all six numbers in the California Lottery and will split a world-record jackpot of nearly $61 million.

Each of the three winning tickets is worth $20.3 million, to be paid out in annual installments over the next 20 years. That’s about $810,000 a year after taxes, lottery officials said Sunday.

One of the winning tickets was believed held by 14 hospital workers from Fallbrook, in northern San Diego County, who, along with a friend, bought 600 of the $1 tickets and agreed to split whatever winnings came their way.

A second winning ticket was claimed by Ron Smith, 45, an oil production supervisor, from Westminster.


Identity of the third big winner, who bought a ticket in Sacramento, probably will be known today, lottery officials said.

Disappointment was almost palpable Sunday for many among the millions whose dreams of instant fortune fell short. Some had bought hundreds of dollars in lottery tickets, hoping to buck 14 million-to-1 odds and realize the richest jackpot in history.

An estimated seven of every 10 adults in California bought at least one ticket for Saturday’s Lotto 6/49, leaving even lottery officials astonished by the frenzied interest in their most recent game.

“It’s staggering, it’s unbelievable,” said lottery spokesman Bob Taylor in Sacramento. “With this kind of fever, there is a likelihood that we’ll have (jackpots) like this twice a year.”


Twenty-nine ticket holders who correctly picked five out of the six numbers plus the bonus number each will receive $261,977 as a result of Saturday’s lottery.

There were 1,046 ticket holders who picked five out of the six numbers. Each will receive $3,742. The 64,087 people who picked four correct numbers each will receive $55. About 1.3 million with three correct numbers will each get $5.

The winning numbers were 5, 20, 26, 28, 32 and 39, with 3 being the bonus number.

Saturday’s jackpot surpassed the previous world record of $56 million in Spain’s El Gordo lottery in 1983, and the old California record of $51.4 million, split in June by Travis Air Force Base mechanic Shelby Carroll and grocery bagger Randy Pennington of Sacramento.

Because of the three-way split of Saturday’s record lottery, each winner’s share will be less than that enjoyed by Carroll and Pennington, but that is about the only lottery-related record that wasn’t shattered this weekend, according to figures released Sunday.

In one hour alone, 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday, 4.3 million tickets were snapped up in anticipation of the televised lottery that night. The previous one-hour sales record was 3.7 million tickets on June 4, the day on which Carroll and Pennington won the lottery.

Smith and his wife, Linda, 41, their son, Michael, 21, and daughter, Tammy, 17, hosted a few relatives and friends Sunday evening as they pondered their future.

“We checked and rechecked and rechecked the numbers and called friends . . . to check their numbers to see if ours were correct. Linda even checked again in the newspaper this morning. Everybody seems happy for us,” Smith said.


He said the family has not decided exactly how to spend their new millions, but he was thinking about investing in a golf course or bowling alley, since he enjoys both sports.

Carrie Dragon, 38, a pharmacy technician at Fallbrook Hospital, was among those claiming a share of Saturday’s Lotto jackpot.

She said that she and 13 nurses, lab technicians and other hospital employees, as well as a friend of one worker, pooled $40 each and bought 600 tickets. The tickets, she said, were purchased at a Circle K store in Fallbrook where computerized Quick Pick Lotto terminals randomly selected the numbers.

On Saturday, Dragon and her co-workers had a party to watch the lottery on TV.

“The lady who found we had a winning ticket screamed,” she said Sunday. “Everybody was just amazed. Then everybody started dreaming about what we were going to do with the money.”

If confirmed by lottery officials, each of the ticket’s 15 shares will be worth $1.35 million.

The ticket, Dragon said, was locked in a bank vault.

“I’m going to set up trust funds for my four kids and pay off bills,” she said. “But for Thanksgiving, we’re all going to go to Hawaii, or some place like that.”


Bill McKeel, manager of the Circle K store that sold Dragon and her friends their tickets, was no less excited Sunday. A retailer who sells a winning ticket gets 0.5% of the jackpot--in this case, $101,481.

“The poor clerk that sold them the ticket is off in another world somewhere right now,” McKeel said. “To think that you hand a piece of paper over to someone and it’s worth $20 million.”

And in Westminster, where Smith’s winning ticket was sold at the 7-Eleven store at 5511 Westminster Blvd., franchise holder Mary Vartan was dreaming about buying a new house.

“People are telling their friends that this was the store,” a gleeful Vartan said. “Maybe this will mean more business.”

Among those who didn’t win a dime in Saturday’s lottery was L.T. Devlin, a retired postal employee who lives in South Los Angeles. Devlin, who bought about $20 in lottery tickets that proved worthless, said he was “dented” by his loss but still managed a smile Sunday.

“You’re bound to lose now and then,” he said, waiting to catch a bus downtown. “But there’s always next time.”

LOTTERY RESULTS OCT. 29 Saturday’s Winning Numbers 5-20-26-28-32-39 Saturday’s Jackpot $60.888 million Bonus Number 3 Winners per Category

No. of Prizes Winners Each 6 of 6 3 $20.3 million 5 of 6 plus bonus 29 $261,977 5 of 6 1,046 $3,742 4 of 6 64,087 $55 3 of 6 1,227,243 $5

The Big Spin

Claudine Hollister, Sacramento, $200,000; Herbert Hogg, Santa Ana, $100,000; Sharon Kindig, Lancaster, $80,000; Luvenia Threatt, Sacramento, $60,000; Stephanie Negrete, Montebello, $50,000; Edith Grimm, Coronado, $40,000; Joe Williams, Ramona, $40,000; Patricia Dilley, Fremont, $30,000; R.D. Clark, Long Beach, $30,000; Alfredo Andrade, Los Angeles, $20,000; Steve Glick, Yucca Valley, $20,000; Phillip Ruiz, Long Beach, $10,000.

Recorded information 976-4275 (English);

976-5275 (Spanish)

Lottery regional offices Whittier (818) 459-4300

Orange (714) 938-4500

San Diego (619) 492-1700