The pileup in near-blizzard conditions on I-94 near Michigan City, Ind., involved 19 semis, the Chicago Tribune reported.
As many as 20 people were injured.
"There's just so much destruction, they have to tear apart those vehicles and semis and move them little by little to see if there is a car underneath them or under a trailer," said LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan.
Indiana State Police said the massive crash, about 60 miles from Chicago, was caused by lake-effect snow that cut visibility to about 10 feet.
The last vehicle was removed about 6 a.m. Friday.
Snowy conditions were also blamed for a separate two-car crash Friday in south central Minnesota in which one person died, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Authorities said a car spun out on a snowy road in the small town of Otsego. The car then collided with a sport utility vehicle traveling the other direction, killing a 55-year-old woman.
The driver of the SUV and a 3-year-old child in the vehicle were not injured, the Wright County sheriff's office said in a statement.
Ice, rarely seen in Houston, coated the city's roads Friday morning, CNN reported, causing accidents that Michael Walter, a spokesman for Houston's emergency management agency, said were "too many to count right now."
Ice delayed about 100 flights at Houston's George Bush International Airport, Walter said. High winds forced the U.S. Coast Guard to close the Houston Ship Channel.
Lingering extreme weather and an ensuing shortage of propane, caused Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley to declare a state of emergency Thursday.
A release from the governor's office said the declaration enables Bentley to invoke the state's price gouging law and suspends rules regulating the sale and purchase of propane, allowing propane tank owner to purchase the fuel from any company that sell it.
Conditions were not expected to improve sufficiently during the weekend for parts of the Great Lakes, New England and the Mid-Atlantic, AccuWeather reported.
An Alberta Clipper pushing into those regions could create dangerous conditions on highways and interstates. Flight delays were possible for airports in an arc from Minneapolis to Buffalo, N.Y.
Winds gusts could be as high as 50 mph in some locations and several inches of snow could fall as the storm moves eastward from the Midwest into the Appalachian Mountains Friday night into Saturday night.
"The combination of rounds of powdery snow, gusty winds and low temperatures can make for whiteouts and brief blizzard conditions," said meteorologist John Gresiak.