CLIVE, Iowa, (WOWT) -- A central Iowa woman stepped forward Monday to claim a $343.9 million Powerball jackpot, the largest lottery prize won to date in Iowa.
Iowa Lottery officials confirmed Monday that Lerynne West was one of two winners of a $688 million jackpot drawn Oct. 27. She'll share the prize with someone who bought the other winning ticket in New York City.
"I realize this is a life-changing moment," West, of Redfield, Iowa said as she claimed her prize at lottery headquarters in Clive. "I'm excited to share my winnings with family and friends, plan to purchase a new car, and look forward to a long vacation – or several. I also plan to give to the causes and organizations important to my family through our newly established Callum Foundation."
The 51-year-old worked for a health insurance organization, but says she retired last week.
As for that $343.9 million check, Lerynne will have to keep the photo as a memento. She opted for the cash option which will pay her an immediate $198.1 million, minus taxes.
That's still a great payday, no matter how you look at it. Especially when you consider the whole thing nearly slipped through her hands.
While moving into her new home in late October, Lerynne and her sister stopped at a Casey's for pizza and coffee. She bought an easy-pick Powerball ticket while they were there and she thought she put her ticket into her purse in her sister's truck but the winning ticket was misplaced for a while. It was riding around on the floor of that truck.
The day after the drawing, West got a text from a friend, asking if she had won the jackpot. She replied that she likely hadn't but she would check her ticket to see. When she couldn't find it she called her sister who located it in her truck. Her sister sent her a picture of the ticket and when West checked her numbers on the lottery website, she realized she'd won.
"I told my sister to get in her truck and get that ticket and get up here right now! And, drive slow," she said.
West overcame odds of 292.2 million to one to win.