Three of Four Powerball Winners Step Forward

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A medical records clerk from Roseville, Minn., a Maine couple who hid their winning ticket in a box of cereal and a 46-year-old ex-convict from Kentucky have claimed the third biggest lottery prize in U.S. history.

A mystery winner in Delaware has yet to reveal himself or herself.

The $294.8 million jackpot for Powerball, which was played in 21 states and the District of Columbia, was drawn Saturday night.

Sheryel Hanuman stopped in a Minneapolis grocery store over the weekend to buy a wedding card when she decided to pick up five Powerball lottery tickets as well.

"It means a little more freedom," Hanuman said Monday after claiming her share. "It means I'll be able to help my family in ways I wouldn't even have thought of prior to this."

Except for the holder of the Delaware ticket, all the winners were identified Monday and all chose the lump-sum payment of $41.4 million, before taxes. With each winning ticket worth $73.7 million, winners also have the option of taking $2.9 million per year for 25 years.

The Maine couple are Pat and Erwin Wales of Buxton. Their lawyer, Terrence Garmey, described their jackpot as part of a lucky streak for Pat Wales, 60.

She won $20 in a Maine lottery Saturday, then followed that up with a Megabucks win for $5. "Then she started to think, 'Maybe this is my lucky day,'" Garmey said.

Wales bought Powerball tickets at a convenience store in Rollinsford, N.H., then stayed up past her bedtime to watch the drawing.

When she realized she had won, "she began to cry and tremble," Garmey said. She tried to awaken her 70-year-old husband, telling him, "Erwin, we won the Powerball," Garmey said. "And he said, 'Uh huh,' and he rolled over and went back to sleep."

He said the couple wondered what to do with the ticket. "And I think they did what any conscientious Maine person would do, they hid it in a box of Corn Chex," Garmey said.

The two spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday.

Erwin Wales said he'll use some of the winnings to buy a pickup truck — "GMC short bed with all the toys."

And his wife said ever since she learned she had the winning ticket, life has been "a wonderful pandemonium."

The holder of the Delaware ticket, sold at a store in Hockessin, had not come forward by Monday evening. Delaware law gives winners a year to claim their prize and allows them to remain anonymous.

For her part, Hanuman, 41, skipped work Monday, telling her boss at Allina Hospital and Clinics that she had personal business. She called back later with the big news and said her boss responded: "No, you've got to be kidding. Nobody calls with this kind of excuse."

The Minnesota woman and her husband, Chrisna, have three sons, ages 11, 10 and 9, and she said she may buy a new house.

The Kentucky winner, David Edwards, 46, who lives outside Ashland, said he was recently laid off from his fiber optics job, needs back surgery and had no idea what he was going to do once his unemployment benefits ran out.

"A lot of people work hard and a lot of people are out of work. And you dream you want a better life, and playing this lottery has done that for me," Edwards said.