Waterford woman wins $70 million jackpot after struggling for months

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Editor's note: It has come to our attention that this story has been used as evidence that jackpot winner Cristy Davis is giving her winnings away to strangers. Michigan Lottery officials say scammers could be using that narrative to phish for personal information. Lottery officials and The Detroit News have been unable to reach Davis to confirm how she is using her money. 

In an instant, Cristy Davis went from living with her grandmother in Waterford to becoming a multi-millionaire after buying an easy-pick at her favorite party store.

Davis, 40, matched all of the winning numbers: 14-47-54-55-68 and the Powerball 25 in the Feb. 12 drawing — winning the $70 million jackpot.

She bought the winning ticket at Huron Plaza Liquor, 694 W. Huron St. in Pontiac.

Davis and a friend stopped at the store to buy scratch-offs and said she randomly decided to play the Mega Millions and also purchased one Powerball ticket.

“I was at work the next morning when my friend FaceTimed me and asked me if I had checked my ticket because the news was saying the winning ticket was bought at the Huron Plaza Liquor," Davis said.

Cristy Davis, 40, matched all of the winning numbers in the Feb. 12 Powerball drawing winning the $70 million jackpot.

“I got off the phone and went to my truck to get the ticket. After I checked it, all I could do was scream. Everyone from work came running to check on me. Once I got calmed down, my boss made sure I was able to get a ride home because there was no way I would be able to drive after learning I was a multi-millionaire.”

Davis, a mother of two and grandmother of one, talked about her big win during a video interview with Michigan Lottery officials during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order in April.

Before the big win, Davis was living paycheck-to-paycheck, constantly straining to repair her car, but can now afford any dream car she'd like.

She's still getting used to having a big bank account balance. The first thing she did with her winnings is buy a new house to move out of grandma's. She plans to invest her money so her children and her children's children will never have to struggle as she did.

Davis chose to receive her $70 million jackpot as a one-time lump sum payment of about $50 million, rather than 30 annuity payments for the full amount. After tax, she received about $36 million, according to a news release Wednesday from the Michigan Lottery.

“Winning has caused me to feel overwhelmed, grateful and relieved all at once. I won’t have to live paycheck-to-paycheck any more,” Davis said.

“I remember when Cristy was a teenager, we were at a family gathering talking about what we would do if we ever won big in the lottery,” Davis’s mother, Patricia, said in a statement. “She said: ‘I’d get my car fixed.’ Now, she’ll never have to worry about having a broken-down car again.”

Yousef Antoo, owner of Huron Plaza Liquor, said news trucks were parked in front of the store in February before he found out his store sold the winning ticket. Antoo said he's happy for Davis and looks forward to sharing his $50,000 bonus commission with his employees and church, in addition to improving the store.

Davis is the second Waterford player to win a lottery jackpot. In 2017, Kevin and Stephanie Blake split a $42 million Mega Millions jackpot with a Rhode Island lottery player. Blake bought his winning ticket at a Waterford 7-Eleven.

It's also the fifth time a Michigan player has won the Powerball jackpot since the state began offering the game in 2010, lottery officials said.

The last Michigan player to win the Powerball jackpot was Phillip Chippewa from Suttons Bay. In September 2019, Chippewa won the game’s $80 million jackpot. Davis is the fourth Michigan player to win a Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot in the last five years.

Still, the largest lottery prize ever paid out in Michigan remains with Donald Lawson of Lapeer. Lawson won $337 million playing the Powerball game in 2012.


Twitter: @SarahRahal_