$878M South Carolina lottery winner sharing with charities

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina woman who won $878 million in the biggest jackpot payout to one winner in U.S. history wants to share her windfall with the city and state where her good fortune happened.

The winner still wishes to remain anonymous because she wants to “live a life of relative normalcy, free of fear,” she said in a statement issued Thursday by her lawyer, Jason Kurland.

The statement answers some questions about the winner after the South Carolina lottery announced the winning ticket had been claimed 10 days ago. She is a woman, from South Carolina — exactly where wasn’t disclosed — and was taking a scenic drive on two-lane state Highway 417 in the Greenville area in late October when the signs advertising the billion-dollar jackpot at the KC Mart in Simpsonville caught her eye.

“She decided to take a chance and purchase a ticket, never once thinking she had the slightest chance to win. After checking her ticket the morning after the drawing, she was in complete shock and disbelief. She stared motionless at the ticket for what felt like hours, then came the jumping and screams of joy,” Kurland wrote in his statement.

An earlier statement from the lottery said the woman had the lottery computer pick her numbers and let someone go in front of her in line to buy their tickets.

The woman wouldn’t officially claim the winning ticket for 131 days. She took her time researching lawyers and financial planners who could help her stay anonymous and manage her newfound wealth, her statement said.