CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Fredrick French of Charlotte said he and his wife celebrated a “life-changing event” after winning a $200,000 scratch-off prize.

“Now I can pay my house off,” he said.

French bought his lucky $5 Lincoln scratch-off from Xpress Shop on Sunset Road in Charlotte. He said he couldn’t believe it when he saw the size of his win.

“I actually thought there weren’t any more of the top prizes left on that one,” French said. “I guess I know now.”

French said he scratched the ticket at his house with his wife right beside him.

“I almost went crazy,” he laughed. “She had to get me a bottle of water to help me to calm down.”

French arrived at lottery headquarters Tuesday to collect his prize and, after required state and federal tax withholdings, took home $142,501.

“Sooner or later I knew I was going to win a big prize like this,” French said.

He said in addition to paying for his house, he plans to buy his wife a car and share some of his winnings with his kids.

The Lincoln game debuted in September as a part of the Cash family of games with six $200,000 prizes. One $200,000 prize remains to be claimed.

Ticket sales from scratch-off games make it possible for the lottery to raise $2.5 million a day on average for education. For details on how $61.8 million raised by the lottery made a difference in Mecklenburg County last year, visit www.nclottery.com and click on the “Impact” section.