(11/29/2012)
Powerball ticket sales are surging in the Mountain State as players buy chances to win the largest ($500 million) jackpot in the lottery game's history.

The drawing is Wednesday.

If you dream of winning the lottery, you might want to study the foibles of winners.

Ten years ago West Virginian Jack Wittaker won the previous record amount at $315 million.

Wittaker's win is one of the saddest stories in lottery history, brought on by hard drinking and hard living.

Legal and personal problems took a heavy toll.

Just eight months after his big score, he was robbed of $545,000 at the Pink Pony, a strip club in Cross Lanes.

A month later, his granddaughter died of an overdose from drugs bought with an allowance from him. A short time later, his daughter also died of a drug overdose.

"I wish I'd torn that ticket up," Whittaker said at the time.

In 2007, Whittaker claimed thieves had emptied his bank accounts.

Whittaker was also sued by Caesars Atlantic City casino for bouncing $1.5 million worth of checks to cover gambling losses.

Whittaker, who was a millionaire before he won the jackpot, is reportedly broke.


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