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Sandpoint farmer wins $2,000,000 on Powerball

| May 15, 2024 6:59 PM

KOOTENAI — When the fuel pump on Nathan Wood’s truck started making strange noises last Monday he pulled into the nearest gas station to see if he could figure out what the problem was.

Since he was close to Arnie’s Payless Gas on Highway 200, Wood pulled in and took a look. And, since he was already there, he decided to purchase his regular Idaho Lottery tickets — two Powerball and two Mega Millions for last week’s draws Monday and Tuesday nights.

A few days later, Wood's wife heard the news that there was a big winner from Bonner County and knew her husband had bought tickets and decided to check them, David Workman, Idaho Lottery spokesman, said.

“She told me we had matched all five of the white balls on Powerball,” described Wood on sharing the good news with his wife. “I couldn’t believe it.  And then, I went back to planting onions.”

All Idaho Powerball tickets include PowerPlay, a feature that multiplies prizes on all non-jackpot winning tickets, Workman said. Wood’s Powerball ticket matched all five of the first numbers, but not the Powerball number, making his ticket a $2,000,000 winner.

Once his big win sunk in, Wood said he contacted his accountant and got all his paperwork together before making the trip to Boise to claim his prize. Wood plans to fix the fuel pump on his truck and then make solid decisions on investing his winnings for the future.

For selling the winning ticket, Arnie’s Payless Gas receives a commission from the Idaho Lottery for $25,000.

Wood is traveling and not available for comment.

It's not the first big winner to come from Bonner County. Several residents have won more than $50,000 on the Lottery's Big Spin game. In 2015, Randy Branum won $1 million when he too matched the game's first five numbers but not the sixth Powerball number.

He'd bought the tickets but put them aside and, when he heard someone had one, he thought it was cool and was happy someone from the area had won.

He then went about his day and didn't think any more about it — until he came home to a memssage from the Idaho Lottery asking him to call. He was stunned, he told the Daily Bee at the time, to find out he'd won a big prize on one of his Powerball tickets.

Like Wood, Branum had no big plans for the money; telling the newspaper that while nice, the money won’t change their lives. Other than a nice dinner and new tires for his dually truck, they planned to put the rest into “a safe, secure place.”

“Did it change my life? No. Before I won, my life was exceptional. After this, my life is exceptional. If money changes your life, you’re in trouble.”