Yesterday Governor Tom Corbett signed a law that toughens the penalty for hit and run violations, a change pushed forward by a tragedy involving a 5-year-old boy.

“Nothing will ever heal the loss Kevin’s family endures, but we hope this law, which will invoke his memory, will bring some measure of justice to drivers who cause such devastation,” Corbett said.

The measure increases the mandatory minimum prison sentence for fleeing the scene of a fatal accident. The charge has carried only a one-year minimum, but “Kevin’s Law” would put the penalty on par with the three-year sentence for a DUI homicide.

By a vote of 49-1, legislation to close Pennsylvania’s hit-and-run “loophole” — under which leaving the scene of a fatal crash carried a lesser minimum sentence than a DUI homicide — passed the state Senate on Monday afternoon, as members of the Dallas boy’s family and their supporters cheered from the gallery high above the Senate floor.

Barely two hours later, Corbett sat surrounded by a sea of those same supporters’ yellow t-shirts as he took the rare step of signing the measure into law the same day it was passed — doubly unprecedented, perhaps, given that he and lawmakers were in the midst of frenetic last-minute work on the state’s next budget.

Kevin Miller was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Dec. 21, 2012, in Wilkes-Barre as he was crossing the street with his family when leaving a Christmas party.