Whatever Happened to Lubbock's Lottery Winner? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/23/03

Whatever Happened to Lubbock's Lottery Winner?

On July 3rd, 2002, 53-year-old Allen Wilhite went to bed a Lubbock truck driver. The next morning, he woke up as the state's newest multi-millionaire. So, Whatever Happened to Lubbock's truck driving lottery winner?

Allen Wilhite's trip from Plainview to Dallas last July started as routine. But, it was a brief pitstop in Merkel, Texas for a cool drink and a lottery ticket that would change his life forever. He won $9 million.

So, a year later, we wanted to know, does he still have all that money? The answer to that question might surprise you. Also, did he stay in Lubbock, and how did his family and friends react?

Allen Wilhite took his family with him when he claimed his mega prize last July. With the cash option, Wilhite took home more than $5 million before taxes. And he says his strategy for winning was simple. "I picked the ages of my grandchildren and my children and me," says Wilhite.

Today, as you might imagine, Wilhite is no longer driving truck for Wal-Mart. "Well, I don't have to worry about paying the bills anymore. That's been a blessing," says Wilhite.

But despite not having to work, he's no big spender. He's still living in the same modest house he lived in before winning the lottery. And the only thing that's really changed inside is some kitchen decor. Wilhite's winning lottery ticket and check are framed and hang above the kitchen table.

Wilhite is the epitome of the millionaire next door. His new multi-million dollar lifestyle is hardly extravagant. "It's not burning a hole in my pocket I guess."

Nearly a year later, he's still got just about every penny he won. Aside from the $600,000 he paid in taxes. And his 2003 50th anniversary, commemorative edition Chevy Corvette. One of only 300 ever made.

But that's really his only splurge. Other than helping his son and his son's family out with a few things, Wilhite hasn't changed much. But some of his friends have. He's gained some, and he's lost some who just haven't treated him the same since he won.

Wilhite says he went into denial initially, and he's just now getting used to the idea that he did win. And he has some advice for all of us. He says your chance is as good as anyone's, so just pick up a ticket occasionally.

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