Newlywed on Honeymoon Found Dead in Montana Hotel

An Alabama woman, Catharine Hudgens, is seeking justice in a Montana court for the death of her husband, Lewis Hudgens, who she alleges was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning at a hotel during their honeymoon in 2021. The lawsuit was filed over three years ago against Rainbow Ranch Lodge and several plumbing companies, accusing them of negligence and wrongful death.

The couple, who got married in Florida on January 9, 2021, flew to Big Sky, Montana, for their honeymoon two days later. Tragically, Lewis Hudgens was found dead in their hotel room less than a week after their wedding, at the age of 59.

The lawsuit alleges that the Rainbow Ranch Lodge and several contractors installed a propane-fueled boiler that emitted the lethal gas. The boiler was located in a room adjacent to the couple’s honeymoon suite. The legal team representing Catharine Hudgens claims that holes drilled into the concrete wall separating the two rooms allowed the deadly gas to seep into the couple’s room.

The lawsuit further alleges that the boiler room was inadequately ventilated, with an exhaust fan that was not operational during the couple’s stay. Catharine Hudgens also accuses the hotel of failing to monitor carbon monoxide levels in the boiler room, which could have alerted them to the presence of the deadly gas.

The alleged carbon monoxide leak left Lewis Hudgens dead and Catharine Hudgens severely ill and disoriented. The couple had spent the entire evening in their room, ordering room service and watching a football game.

The lawsuit also claims that despite Catharine Hudgens’ sister calling the hotel’s front desk on January 13 and 14 to request a wellness check on the couple, no hotel employee ever visited their room. It was not until January 15 that a hotel manager, receiving no response from the couple, entered their room to find Catharine Hudgens in a severely disoriented state and Lewis Hudgens dead.

The lawsuit asserts that if the hotel staff had checked on the couple as requested, Lewis Hudgens would likely still be alive and Catharine Hudgens would not have been injured. Both attorneys representing Catharine Hudgens and Rainbow Ranch Lodge did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Lewis Hudgens, affectionately known as “Big Lew” by friends and family, is remembered in his obituary as having “passed away unexpectedly while honeymooning in Big Sky, Montana with his wife Catherine, whom he dearly loved.”