By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 31, 1998 12:00 AM

Supermodel Niki Taylor, who was critically injured in a car accident in Atlanta early Sunday morning, is expected to undergo surgery on her lungs and liver on Thursday, reports Officials at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital said that the operation was expected to last for several hours. Taylor was responsive Wednesday morning, according to her aunt, Mary Easton. Unable to speak because of a ventilator, Taylor nonetheless wanted the tubes removed from her arms. While Taylor is “definitely not out of the woods, at least she’s heading in the right direction,” said Eaton, whose sister Barbara is Niki’s mother. Taylor’s doctors, said her aunt, are “pleased she’s now fighting for herself.” Taylor’s physician, Dr. Jeffrey Nichols, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that it would be weeks before her recovery can be properly assessed. The accident apparently occurred when Chad Renegar, the driver of the car Taylor was riding in, lost control after being distracted by his ringing cell phone. “I was distracted by something that was not part of what I should have been doing at the moment, which was driving,” Renegar told “Good Morning America.” “The result of that has changed the lives of three people and their families.”