Deann Stevens hurried home from church on Sunday and proudly put on her royal blue Special Olympics T-shirt and her white shorts; her older sister Amanda had promised to take her to the Potomac Riverfest celebration.

Deann's usually high spirits were soaring: three weeks ago she had won gold, silver and bronze medals at the 19th annual D.C. Special Olympics' Summer Games at Gallaudet University, and a summer of roller skating, going to movies and playing with baby dolls lay ahead. A friend in the girls' close-knit Deanwood neighborhood in the 4800 block of Haynes Street NE had loaned them Metrobus flashpasses, and the bright sunshine seemed custom-ordered for a day of fun on the banks of the Anacostia River.

But the enthusiastic 13-year-old and her 19-year-old sister never got beyond the bus stop in the 3900 block of Benning Road NE. A 1976 Ford LTD driven by a man who police said was a diabetic apparently having a seizure went out of control, jumped a curb and plowed into the bus stop, fatally injuring Deann and critically injuring Amanda and another bystander.

For Joan and Charles (Buddy) Stevens, concern turned into panic late Sunday when their two daughters did not return home. They waited the 24 hours required by D.C. police to file missing persons reports and did so at 12:15 p.m. Monday.

About four hours later they learned that the tragic accident near their home that they had read about in the Monday newspaper had claimed the life of their younger daughter and had critically injured their older daughter.

"It hasn't come down on me yet. I haven't seen her {Deann}," Joan Stevens said yesterday. "My husband identified her. He's really broke up. That was his baby girl."

Deann, called De by family and friends, was in the seventh grade in the Learning Center for learning disabled children at Kelly Miller Junior High School. Amanda, nicknamed Manny, had joined the Job Corps to earn her high school diploma equivalency degree and train for a job with Amtrak as a reservations clerk. The Stevens' son Nolan, 12, is also in the seventh grade at Kelly Miller.

"My Manny and my De, they had so many friends. Manny joined the Job Corps, and she hadn't seen her friends for three weeks," Joan Steven said. "That's why I kept hoping they were at one of her friends' houses. But I couldn't figure out why she hadn't called -- that's what had me puzzled."

Neither of the girls was carrying identification when they left for the Riverfest shortly after noon on Sunday. Police identified the girls Monday afternoon through the neighbor who had loaned them the flashpasses, which were found on Amanda.

The identification of Amanda had been further hindered after a doctor in the D.C. medical examiner's office estimated Deann's age at 25, according to Detective Robert L. Schaar of the D.C. police vehicular homicide squad.

Deann was pinned to a tree, her right leg severed below the knee. She died at D.C. General Hospital four hours after the 12:50 p.m. accident. Amanda was thrown 30 feet and suffered head, leg and internal injuries. She was listed last night in critical condition in the intensive care unit at D.C. General.

The third victim, Jeff Crawford, 20, of 6000 Druid Place, Suitland, was discharged from D.C. General yesterday, after surgery on Sunday.

As in all vehicular homicide cases in the District, Schaar said, a grand jury must decide whether to charge the driver of the car, in this case, Charles Samuels, 61, of 119 Sixth St. NE. Under D.C. law, diabetics whose disease is controlled by medication are allowed to drive if an eye doctor certifies that the disease has not impaired their vision and a doctor certifies that the diabetes is under control and that the diabetic is reliable in taking medication to control it, according to Dr. Raymond Contee, medical officer for the D.C. Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Contee said that because of confidentiality, he could not release information on Samuels' driver's license or medical status.

Friends and neighbors of the Stevens family expressed sorrow and compassion for the family they described as close and caring.

"Deann was such a sweet child, just the ideal kind of daughter every mother would love to have," said Joyce Brooks, mother of Deann's best friend. "And to the little children here, she was just like the little mother of the neighborhood."