The Bethel man who recently crashed his boat into the shoreline of Vaughn's Neck on Candlewood Lake was charged Wednesday with first-degree reckless operation of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

On July 19, Thomas Assheton, 36, of Ridgedale Road in Bethel, was piloting his 24-foot cabin cruiser at 3 a.m. on Candlewood Lake when he plowed into the shoreline of Vaughn's Neck, the long, wooded peninsula at the north end of the lake, according to DEP officials.

He beached his boat on a large rock at the neck.

Investigators said Assheton was headed south from New Milford when the accident occurred.

Assheton and his two passengers -- Kevin Foster, 35, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Ronald Lorenzoni, 42, of Beach Wood Grove in Brookfield -- all had to be taken to area hospitals after the accident.

The state Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Conservation Police investigated.

On Wednesday, the DEP charged Assheton with operating his vessel while under the influence. He was released on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear Aug. 31 in Bantam Superior Court.

Assheton was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

The accident occurred one year after two boats had collided in the dark on Candlewood Lake, about one mile to the south of where Assheton struck Vaughn's Neck.

That 2008 accident -- which also happened late at night, with a pilot who the DEP said had been drinking -- killed two people.