(Adds quotes from employees, customers of Missouri store where one of the winning tickets was sold)
By Kevin Murphy
DEARBORN, Missouri, Nov 29 (Reuters) - The manager of a Missouri gas station where one of two winning tickets in the record $587.5 million Powerball lottery was sold said on Thursday that he was shocked to learn he might have handed the lucky ticket to a prospective multi-millionaire.
The two winning tickets were sold at the g as station and sandwich shop in the farming town of Dearborn, Missouri, about 30 miles north of Kansas City, and a food store in Fountain Hills, Arizona, on the outskirts of Phoenix.
Although the identit ies of the ticket-holders w ere not immediately a nnounced, they p icked the winning numbers announced at the drawing We dnesday night: 5, 16, 22, 23, 29, and the Powerball number 6.
They will share an estimated $385 million after taxes if they opt to take the prize as a lump sum, or the $587.5 million can be paid out to them as annuities over three decades, the Multi-State Lottery Association said.
Kristi Williams, a clerk at the Trex Mart convenience store in Dearborn, s aid she and another employee high-fived each other when th ey le arned th e m orning af ter the drawing th at one of the two winning tickets had been purchased there.
Store manager Chris Nauerz , who was working Wednes day when the lucky ticket was purchased, called the news “shocking.” He said the station gets a mix of customers, both locals from Dearborn, population 500, and truck drivers passing through on nearby Interstate 29.
“It’s pretty crazy to think somebody locally could possibly be a millionaire and not know it yet,” Nauerz said. “And the fact that I may have even handed over the ticket is even wilder.”
The popular lottery - which is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands - had not had a winner for two months.
After no one won the top prize in Saturday’s drawing, the pot grew by about $263 million to $587.5 million amid a national frenzy to buy tickets.
Mary Neubauer, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Lottery, where Powerball is based, said people from around the world called hoping for a chance to play but were told they had to be in a participating location to buy a ticket.
The previous Powerball top prize of $365 million was won in 2006 by ConAgra slaughterhouse workers in Nebraska. The largest-ever U.S. lottery jackpot, the $656 million Mega Millions drawing, was shared by three winning tickets last March. (Additional reporting by Colleen Jenkins, David Bailey, Mary Slosson and David Schwartz; Writing by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Vicki Allen and Greg McCune)