Two San Diego County residents became millionaires Saturday, winning $1.75 million apiece in the state lottery drawing.
Lottery officials said John M. Hanks of Jamul and Sharon Sniffin of Santee both called the lottery's district office in San Diego Monday to claim their shares of the $7.01 million jackpot. Hanks and Sniffin are two of four big winners in the state, each of whom will receive a total of $1,753,627 in annual payments over 20 years, lottery spokesman Bob Nieto said.
"It was pandemonium," Sniffin said of the moment when the six numbers on her lottery ticket appeared on the television screen. The first thing she did upon becoming a millionaire? "I sat and started dreaming," said the 41-year-old mother of two. "Then, I had to wait until 6 a.m. the next morning to find out how many people I would have to share the jackpot with."
Sniffin, an office manager for a corporate contractor in San Diego, said she and her family plan to splurge a little when they receive the first payment in three to four weeks. "We're going to have a great Christmas," she said. Sniffin said she and her husband, Gary, also plan to buy new cars, but she added with a laugh: "I've always dreamed about a Mercedes 240 SL--but now that I can get it, I'm not sure that's what I want!"
Other than the initial spending spree, Sniffin vows that life at her home will be changed little by the win. With her husband retiring next year from the military, the money will be safely invested and used to pay for their daughters' college educations and to provide a cushion of financial security, she said.
Sniffin, who terms herself a "sporadic" lottery player, bought her winning ticket at Santana Liquors & Deli on Mast Boulevard.
Hanks, who was unavailable for comment, bought his big ticket Saturday evening at the Jamul General Store on Campo Road. "My sister sold it to him," said store owner Andy Naemi. Hanks "lives right down the street from the store. He's always in here." Naemi, who purchased the store only a month ago, said he was looking forward to his 0.5% cut of the winning ticket, which will be more than $8,000.
"We're just very happy we finally sold a major ticket to a Santee resident," Naemi said.
The two other big winners in the drawing are residents of Los Angeles and the Northern California city of Rio Vista.
The four winners correctly picked all six of the winning numbers, which were 5, 7, 17, 23, 39 and 43. The bonus number was 27. An additional 14 people picked five correct numbers plus the bonus numbers, and will win $135,000 each, lottery officials said.