Most people win $150 from a lottery ticket and pick it up the next day. Jackie Alston won $74.5 million in the Powerball drawing —...

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Most people win $150 from a lottery ticket and pick it up the next day.

Jackie Alston won $74.5 million in the Powerball drawing — she chose the $36 million lump sum — and waited more than two months before going to the Raleigh headquarters Friday morning to claim it.

The Halifax, N.C., resident, the fifth North Carolinian to win the jackpot but the first to have bought her ticket in the state, knew she had won the day after the drawing Nov. 29.

She told her brother, who then let her cousins know.

She quit her job as a corrections officer at the Brunswick Correctional Center, where she had worked since 1991 and where word quickly spread of her good fortune.

Even her neighbors were in the loop.

But she waited until Thursday to call the lottery.

“I wanted to be prepared,” she said.

Alston, 38, was definitely prepared Friday, when she arrived at the North Raleigh office in a limousine with her brother, a cousin, a media consultant and a financial adviser.

She spoke briefly to reporters, picked up her oversized ceremonial check and signed the paperwork to receive the cash.

Alston, a single mother who declared bankruptcy in 1997, chose to take the lump-sum payment of $36 million for the jackpot instead of 30 payments totaling $74.5 million over 29 years.

After federal and state taxes are taken out, the lump-sum jackpot is worth a little over $24 million.

She said she did not know yet what she’ll do with the money.

“I think I’m still in shock, actually,” she said.

Alston had stashed the ticket in a safety-deposit box at the bank until Friday morning.

Under Powerball rules, she had until May 29 to pick up her winnings, or the prize money would have been redistributed to all participating states.