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Samuel Manley of Littleton said he carried around a Cash 5 ticket worth $160,595 in his pocket for two days and didn’t even realize it.

 “I always keep stuff in my pocket and transfer it from shirt to shirt,” Manley said. “I can’t believe I was carrying around something worth that much money.”

The school bus technician’s good luck started when he stopped at the Bert Ammond Country Café on Highway 301 in Pleasant Hill and bought a Cash 5 ticket for the July 29 drawing. 

 “I told my wife the night before that I was feeling lucky,” Manley said.  “I told her, ‘I’m going to buy the winning Cash 5 ticket.’”

Manley normally uses numbers that are special to him, but this time, he decided to do something different.

“I closed my eyes and let luck be my guide,” Manley said. “I put the pencil down and wherever it landed, that’s the number I used.”

 Manley put his ticket in his pocket and forgot about it. When he checked it two days later, he couldn’t believe it.

“I was in shock,” Manley said. “I told my wife, ‘I think we hit the lottery.’”

Manley claimed his prize Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. 

After required state and federal tax withholdings, he took home $113,621. He plans to use some of the money to pay bills, he’ll put the rest in savings. His ticket beat odds of one in 962,598 to win the jackpot.

Cash 5 is a statewide draw game that gives players the chance to win a jackpot every single night. Tickets cost $1 and players can buy tickets at most lottery retailers or through Online Play on the lottery’s website. The jackpot for tonight’s drawing is $344,000.